You may have heard something about a budget? Not that it’s wall-to-wall coverage in the local news or anything…
Jokes aside, the Alberta government did put forward its budget in the Legislature Thursday, so there’s lots to dig into on spending, cuts, taxes, etc. I won’t make today’s Headlines all budget all the time, but point you at a couple of highlight stories. (We’ll take a closer look at what Edmonton gets from both the Alberta and Canada budgets after the federal numbers come out next week.)
If you want to read all of the Alberta Budget documents you can see them at the provincial government’s website (and it would be proof you know how to have a good time).
Global Edmonton’s got a fairly good roundup on what kind of money will flow to major projects in and around our city. (If you prefer, you can also see a similar roundup from the Journal.) Edmonton’s not doing too bad in this provincial budget, but also isn’t getting everything it needs for transit, housing and other programs.
Health care costs are going up, but only about the rate of inflation, which is actually more spending restraint than the previous Conservative governments had in their budgets. This also includes funding for a new hospital in south Edmonton, and money for the Misericordia and Royal Alexandra hospitals.
It’s not quite the billion dollars that creepy Royal Alex puppet wanted, but let’s hope it’s enough to keep her out of commercials for a little while. She will continue to haunt our dreams forever though.
Oh yeah… the budget is going to be a deficit budget. Which means it spends more than it takes in, and the province’s debt will go up. A terrible, awful, the worst thing if you ask the opposition parties. But, hey, we all have mortgages, student loans, credit card debt and rack up our Pizza 73 line of credit* now and then, so it’s really not the worst thing in the world.
In fact, as mentioned earlier about health spending, don’t let the opposition parties lead you to think the NDP government is the first to run deficits. The Progressive Conservatives were doing it the last decade too.
Complete aside: does this photo make it look like there’s a Stargate opening in the Alberta Legislature?
*Pizza 73 does not really offer a line of credit, as far as I’m aware. Sorry to get your hopes up.
In the city
We mentioned the open house about Mill Woods Town Centre’s big redevelopment plan earlier this week, and it’s got a lot that could be good as the LRT makes its way southeast. (Although, 25 years is way too long to wait for the whole plan to come together.)
There’s a chance Edmonton gets a pop-up park like we haven’t seen – one that takes up some road.
After two police shootings in the last week the police chief is saying this is unusual for the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), and not a sign officers are increasing their use of force. In a report looking at 2016, Edmonton Police fired their guns zero times last year, but did use Tasers more frequently. EPS officers also used some kind of force about six times each day during arrests or interactions with the public.
A local organization you hope to not to have to use is opening its doors to the public Friday, if you want to check out the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society. It was really put into action last year after the Fort McMurray fire.
OK, I realize today’s Headlines ended up being budget all the time.