Alberta Projected to Achieve $5.5 Billion Budget Surplus Amid Natural Disasters

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Alberta Finance Minister Nate Horner speaks to the media at a news conference in Calgary, Thursday, June 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta is poised to record a significant budget surplus, although a portion of it will be allocated to address the costs arising from recent natural disasters, according to The Canadian Press.

Surging Surplus with Environmental Costs

Finance Minister Nate Horner revealed that Alberta is on track to reach a $5.5-billion surplus by the end of the 2023-24 budget year in March. This figure marks a $3.2-billion increase from the surplus forecasted when the budget was introduced in February.

Key Contributors to the Surplus

The unexpected rise in the province’s surplus is attributed primarily to increased oilsands royalties, and higher personal and corporate income taxes. These revenue streams have bolstered Alberta’s financial position, giving the province a significant economic boost.

Allocation for Disaster Relief

However, this financial windfall comes with its challenges. The province is dedicating $1.2 billion to combat and provide relief from the spring wildfires and summer floods, as well as to support livestock producers affected by drought conditions. These environmental calamities have necessitated substantial expenditures, underscoring the ongoing impact of climate change and natural disasters on provincial finances.

Reduction in Taxpayer-Supported Debt

In addition to addressing these environmental challenges, Alberta is also making strides in reducing its taxpayer-supported debt. The province expects to decrease its debt by $3 billion, bringing it to approximately $76 billion by March next year. This reduction is part of Alberta’s continued efforts to manage its fiscal responsibilities effectively.