Politics
No balanced budget in Alberta: Finance Minister

AB Premier Alison Redford talks to an Edmonton Sun reporter for her year-end interview at Government House in Edmonton, Dec. 12, 2012.

Credits: Tom Braid/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency

JACKIE L. LARSON | QMI AGENCY

EDMONTON -- Forget Premier Alison Redford's campaign promise of a balanced budget or even the revised promise of a balanced operating budget. Last year's wildly optimistic three-year business plan is out the window, Finance Minister Doug Horner said Wednesday.

Talk starts now -- everything's on the table, including public sector salary increases.

"It's not the greatest Christmas news for the cabinet ministers to hear but the reality is the reality and we have to adjust ... they're going to have to live within their means, they're going to have to ensure that we're very aggressive at reining in and restraining our spending for us to meet our targets," Horner said.

An unbalanced operational budget would be the first in Alberta since 1994, the opposition said.

"This government has been all over the map on the upcoming budget, but finally we're getting the truth: It's in shambles and they have no idea what to do about it," Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said.

"They've made billions of dollars in election promises and they're now in a position of having to break them or rack up debt," the opposition leader said.

Don't blame the Tories for over-promising during the election and under-delivering now, Horner said.

"Anyone who tells you they knew this was going to happen back in January of this year is simply trying to make themselves look better. Frankly, I don't buy that. I don't think Albertans buy that," he said.

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