Budget 2018 Highlights for UFA Members and Agriculture Producers
Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci recently delivered his 2018 budget entitled A Recovery Built to Last. Budget 2018 maintains the NDP's governing approach of avoiding deep cuts to front-line services while continuing to spend on operations and capital projects as Alberta's economy continues on the path to recovery.
The government's three strategic priorities are:
- Diversifying the economy, expanding market access and supporting new industries.
- Maintaining public services.
- Controlling spending growth and reduce spending inefficiencies.
These priorities, in keeping with the budget's theme of building a resilient economy, align with what the government indicated in its Throne Speech on March 8, which focused on energy, economic diversification and job creation without reducing public services.
- The budgetary plan for 2018 anticipates:
- Total expense of $56.2B, up by $0.3B from 2017-18
- Total revenues of $47.9B, increasing by 2.1%
- Operating expenses of $47.8B, up by 3.0%
- Projected budget deficit of $8.8 billion
Alberta's projected economic growth in 2018: 2.7%
What you need to know:
$1.1 billion of the 2018 Budget is allocated for Agriculture and Forestry. This is a $42 million increase from the previous year with targeted funding increases for crop and livestock insurance, energy efficiency programs, and 10.5 million in new CAP funding. The overall funding will focused on achieving the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's three year strategic business plan objectives:
- support sustainable growth of the agriculture and forestry sector through innovation, economic diversification and market access
- adopt innovation processes and technologies and promote value-added production and commercialization
- ensure food safety and animal health
- support small brewers' ability to invest in their business, launch new products and develop new markets
- fund wildfire prevention and suppression initiatives
Different in this year's budget documents is a chapter titled "Path to Balance" where the government says they plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate the provincial deficit by 2023-24. There are signs that the government plans to rein in spending with further caps on public sector salaries and a capital plan which has been scaled back from the NDP's first two years in government.
To read more on Budget 2018, please visit https://www.alberta.ca/budget.aspx.
We welcome your feedback. For questions or comments about how this may affect you as a UFA member or agriculture producer, please email email@example.com.