The province is $94 million ahead of where it expected to be, according to MLA for Drumheller Stettler and President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Nate Horner.
Horner delivered the first quarter fiscal update, which shows the province is on course to a $2.4 billion surplus by the end of the fiscal year. This is up $94 million from what was budgeted.
“Alberta’s finances remain strong, and thanks to our new fiscal framework, Alberta’s fiscal position is poised to become even stronger. Our continued priorities of paying down debt and saving for the future will ensure we have the capacity to meet Albertans’ needs both today and well into the future,” said Horner.
With the province’s new fiscal framework, it is required to use half of the surplus cash to pay down debt. With this update, the province is on track with its plan to eliminate $2.6 billion in taxpayer-supported debt. In 2023-24, the total amount available for allocation is forecast at $5.2 billion, which includes $5.1 billion carried over from the 2022-23 final results.
The remaining surplus will be allocated to the Alberta fund. From there it can be used for further repayment or squirrelled away in the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
Revenue in the forecast is up $491 million and is driven by an increase in corporate and professional income tax revenues, projected to be a $1.5 billion increase.
Oil revenues have fallen overall. Revenue resources are projected to decrease by $694 million. While bitumen royalties are projected to increase by $515 million, the price of a barrel of oil is now about $4 less than what Budget 2023 was based on.
Expenses are forecasted to be $68.7 billion, a $397 increase from the budget.
According to a release disastrous wildfires in the province have also added to unforeseen expenses. The province has directed $750 million for fighting this year’s wildfires. Another $175 million is budgeted for uninsurable losses, $75 million of which is expected to be covered by the federal government, and $55 million, mainly for emergency evacuation payments.
“Our positive numbers today are a testament to the resilience we continue to build in the province’s finances and Alberta’s economy as we retain our position as the economic engine of Canada,” said Horner.