Future taxpayers among the losers in Alberta budget

EDMONTON – Alberta’s NDP government tabled its first budget Tuesday. A look at some of the winners and losers:

Winners — Employers and people looking for work: A two-year job incentive program is to give companies of all sizes, as well as non-profits, $5,000 for each new job they create. Meant to support 27,000 new jobs each year. New measures to improve access to capital for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Winners — Low-income families: New Alberta Child Benefit to assist families earning less than $41,220. Parents to get up to $1,100 for one child and as much as $550 each for three additional children. Family Tax Credit to be enhanced so more lower- and middle-class families can get access to it and draw from it for longer periods.

Losers — Drinkers and smokers: The cost of cigarettes goes up by $5 a carton. A case of 12 beers goes up 24 cents and a bottle of wine is increased by 18 cents.

Losers — The insured: There is an insurance premium tax hike of one per cent.

Losers — Politicians: Cabinet ministers, political staff and members of the legislature are to be under a salary freeze for the remainder of the current four-year legislature term.

Winners —The sick and those in need: More money for services to help children and families in need, including $15 million to support women’s shelters. Operational funding for health is to increase to almost $21 billion by 2018.

Winners — Construction workers: The province plans to spend $34 billion over the next five years to ramp up construction for roads, schools, hospitals and other facilities.

Winners — Students: There is a two-year tuition freeze for post-secondary students. An additional 380 teachers, plus 150 support staffers, to be hired for grade schools.

Losers —Future taxpayers: Starting next year, the province plans to begin borrowing for the first time in 20 years to manage its day-to-day spending. Debt for capital is expected to hit $36.6 billion by 2018.