A provincial budget is a lot like a personal budget – you need to know what you have for income and expenses, and you need to know where your spending priorities are.
How the budget is prepared
Budget planning is an on-going process. The Alberta government is continually monitoring and updating its revenue outlook and reviewing its spending pressures.
Throughout the year, the Alberta government receives budget advice from Albertans including various boards, community organizations, businesses, labour groups and individuals.
This questionnaire is another important way of gathering input for next year's budget
Where the money comes from?
The bulk of Alberta's revenue comes from two sources: resource revenue and taxes. Other income comes from federal transfer payments, investments and fees and licences.
BUDGET 2011 REVENUE CHART
A $1 drop in the oil price over 12 months equals $141 million less in revenue. A 1 cent rise in the exchange rate over 12 months equals a $154 million drop in revenue.
Because of our provincial tax system, Albertans and Alberta businesses pay the equivalent of between $2,950 and $5,270 per capita less than what they would pay in any other province – or a total of at least $11 billion less taxes paid.
Alberta's revenue has always been unpredictable. Oil and gas prices, global markets and the value of the Canadian dollar all impact our revenue picture. This impact was made clear during the recession, and we continue to feel the effects as the world economy struggles to recover. This is important to keep in mind as we plan for our economic future.
Where does the money go?
Chart: 2011-12 program expense by function
*other includes transportation, justice and policing, regional planning and development, environment, recreation and culture, housing, government operations and administration, and debt servicing costs.
New ways of doing things
Changing lives by supporting non-profit groups
The Alberta government has devoted nearly $300 million over the past four years to help non-profit organizations with costs.
Tax credits and matching donations, through the Community Spirit Program have generated $52.9 million since 2008, for eligible non-profits across Alberta.
These programs are integral to organizations like the Strathmore branch of the Foothills Advocacy in Motion Society, helping Albertans with developmental disabilities find employment.
Albertans receive a new lease on life through health care innovations
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a pioneering medical procedure funded by the Alberta government at Foothills Hospital.
It helps critically ill Albertans living with faulty heart valves to receive replacements made from cow tissue, resulting in a recuperation time half that of conventional open-heart surgery.
Digital stethescopes stream real-time vitals through secure video links to specialists at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in Edmonton, ensuring northern Albertans have access to cutting-edge cardiac care.
Stepping up environmental responsibility
Cumulative Effects Management moves beyond “environmental monitoring” to a holistic approach, considering combined impacts of existing and proposed developments on all aspects of the environment.
The Alberta government is using groundwater mapping to improve understanding of water resources, and make better water management decisions.
Using the Water for Life strategy, working with land-use planners, watershed councils and environmental groups across the province, best practices will increase conservation, educate Albertans and manage our most precious resource.
Getting out of the way of small business and entrepreneurship
The Alberta government will take action to slash red tape and reduce the regulatory burden on small business owners.
- From Jade Homes in Bow Island, which builds custom homes for shipment across the province and supports a local network of contractors, to the award-winning Birds and Bees Organic Winery in Two Hills, small businesses are an integral part of Alberta's economic landscape.
- They grow our economy in new and exciting ways, adding to our net worth, while nurturing our cultural and artistic diversity, boosting tourism and promoting our values.
Ensuring our farmers and agri-products are the best in the world:
Since 2009, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency has provided almost $80 million to support industry projects that have a projected value of more than $249 million.
- Growing Forward initiative, a partnership with Ottawa, has invested $273 million in agriculture and agribusiness.
- Alberta is the only province in Canada to offer programs for livestock welfare, automation, lean manufacturing and market development
- Agriculture Financial Services Corporation provides capital for agribusiness ventures considered too risky by private sector lenders.
- Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator in Leduc, provides agrifood entrepreneurs with the business guidance and assistance they need to grow their enterprises and stay viable