Doug Horner hits road to defend budget borrowing
Alberta Finance Minister says borrowing to build infrastructre is sustainable
Alberta's Finance Minister Doug Horner was in Calgary Friday to promote his new provincial budget.
The budget, released Thursday, called for a $1.1 billion surplus for the coming fiscal year but also includes billions of dollars in borrowing to build new infrastructure. That's sparked criticism from some but Horner says the decision is sustainable given Alberta's net assets.
"We're also setting aside money every year in a separate account so that when the maturities of that debt come due, the cash is there," he said during a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. "This is in addition to the savings, the operating and the contingency account. This is not part of it, it's in addition to. So when people say that we don't have a plan around our borrowing — B.S."
The opposition says Horner's plan will saddle Albertans with interest payments for decades to come.
Horner outlined his debt repayment plan to the Chamber and said the payments are currently scheduled to stretch to the 2047-48 fiscal year.
He also says although the government is planning to spend $1.9 billion over the next three years on Calgary's southwest ring road, that leg of Stoney Trail will actually cost about $5 billion by the time the work is completed.