Budget 2023: Focused on the ‘now,’ not the future

Whenever a provincial budget is tabled, there is a mountain of information to sift through before anyone can really say how municipalities will fare in the months and years ahead. The Government of Alberta’s Budget 2023 proved to be no exception.

Post-budget analysis & briefings

Our Advocacy team spent the better part of a day reviewing the document and pulling together a detailed analysis of how member communities will be affected. Then, President Cathy Heron and several of our subject matter experts presented our preliminary analysis to more than 300 members in a members-only webinar. The full report, a video of the presentation and other helpful links are available on Alberta Municipalities’ Budget 2023 web page.

ABmunis also briefed reporters in a separate online technical briefing and followed up with an official statement that was widely reported on by local and provincial news outlets, including Taproot Edmonton and the CBC.

Spending on health care, education & public safety welcomed

The provincial government allotted significant funding to health care, education and public safety in this year’s budget. We welcome these budget decisions. Our member communities have been calling for these investments because they are essential to the residents they serve. ABmunis will watch the flow of funding closely to ensure these allocations are not just pre-election promises that may evaporate or get watered down after the next provincial election, which is expected to take place in May 2023.

Serious concerns about $30 billion infrastructure deficit

At the same time, this year’s provincial budget falls short when it comes to addressing Alberta’s $30 billion infrastructure deficit.

“While numerous infrastructure projects will receive funding in the 2023 provincial budget – things like hospitals, schools, roads and bridges – these projects represent a small fraction of the infrastructure projects needed to build a province that attracts and retains talented people so that Alberta remains economically successful and prosperous,” said President Heron.

Advocacy win: fully indexed funding for municipalities

Our association was pleased to see the Government of Alberta listened to us and others when it decided to fully index funding to municipalities so that local governments’ funding increases and decreases as the provincial government’s revenues wax and wane. In this respect, ABmunis’ members feel more like full partners, rather than 'children’ of the province.

Alberta Municipalities will continue pressing the provincial government to commit to additional strategic infrastructure spending in the coming weeks and months. We also plan to raise this issue with all provincial political parties in the run-up to the 2023 provincial election