Only one year after declaring Alberta a “debt-free” province, the Alberta Tories are talking about getting back in the business of borrowing money.
According to the Edmonton Journal, yesterday, “[Alberta Premier Ralph] Klein signaled he will back a proposal by Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Lyle Oberg to borrow money to help clear a $7.2-billion backlog of schools, highways and health centers that need to be replaced or repaired.“
According to the Calgary Herald, “Premier Klein says there’s merit to the idea of Alberta going back into debt to catch up with seven billion dollars in building projects.“
Now, I think it about damn time they start working on this massive infrastructure debt and began investing in Alberta’s lacking infrastructure (which is a result of Klein’s cuts in the first place).
But, it left me thinking, will the Alberta Government be breaking the law if they borrow money?
According to Alberta’s Fiscal Responsibility Act, which forbids the government from running a deficit and limits government spending:
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act sets requirements of the annual fiscal plan:
– It requires balanced budgets. Deficits are not allowed, as expense and capital must not be more than revenue.”
Now, I honestly think this is probably the dumbest law ever thought up. How the heck is it supposed to be enforced? It was a cheap PR stunt from a government that was desperate to look fiscally responsible way back in 1993. Would the police arrest the Finance Minister for running a deficit?
Will Alberta be running a deficit if they borrow $7.2 Billion?
I’m no lawyer, but will they be breaking the law? Should I call the police?