Alberta budgeting method slammed by auditor general
Critics say new accounting method hides deficit spending
Alberta's auditor general wants the government to scrap the way it reports how it spends taxpayers money, saying it's too confusing.
For the last two years, the government has separated the annual budget into capital costs and operational spending. Money borrowed for infrastructure spending is no longer considered part of the operational deficit.
Government officials have defended the new budget method, saying taxpayers are interested to know that day-to-day expenses are in line, but critics say the government is merely trying to hide deficit spending.
Either way, Merwan Saher says the provincial budget has become overly complicated.
"In order to avoid people being confused and having to interpret and translate the (budget), I think the government should consider ... presenting a generally accepted, accounting principles-based budget," he said.
Saher said the budget used to be much easier to understand.
"All of that takes precious time that, in my opinion, should be spent on people debating the contents of the budget," he said. "What is the fiscal plan? What is the surplus or deficit compared to previous years?"
With files from CBC's John Archer