Media Advisory - PC budget bound to miss the real story

Bungling revenue collection is the problem, but Tories afraid to talk about it

EDMONTON, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - When the Progressive Conservative government announces its budget tomorrow, and most opposition critics and media analysts debate it, there's a danger the real story will be missed.

"Few people are talking about why we're in this mess," says Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, which represents 140,000 workers. "The elephant in the room that no one mentions is that the Conservatives have mismanaged revenue collection so badly for decades that the province is billions of dollars out of pocket and is now likely to force unnecessary attacks on vital public services in several departments."

Media reports have suggested that some departments face double-digit budget cuts. Others may have budgets frozen or see increases that fail to match inflation and population growth. "Make no mistake, each of these scenarios will cost Albertans, in the loss of the public services that they value - and our most vulnerable will suffer the most," he says.

"The Conservatives have created a crisis by failing to repair a badly broken revenue system. For example, the Tories have failed to meet their own revenue-collection targets from conventional oil and gas operations almost every year for a decade, meaning a loss of about $37 billion. We have to fix this madness now or face continuing budget bungling for years to come. However, the Conservatives, spooked by the oilpatch-friendly Wildrose Alliance Party, appear to be afraid to even talk about revenue - and why one of the richest jurisdictions in the world is in this mess."

McGowan will be available to comment on the budget immediately after it has been delivered.

SOURCE Alberta Federation of Labour

For further information:

Gil McGowan, President, AFL @ 780-483-3021 (office) or 780-218-9888 (cell)

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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