Tags: Investing in Alberta’s Future , Providing Leadership & Accountability , Supporting Families

Posted on Mar 24, 2017

Budget 2017 benefits Sherwood Park

Money

By Annie McKitrick, MLA for Sherwood Park.

On Thursday last week, the minister of Finance introduced the budget, and the first bills were introduced in the Assembly. The minister spoke about the work to control spending below inflation plus population increase, and gradually reducing the deficit over time without making drastic cuts that would only hurt Albertans. Alberta remains a low-tax jurisdiction with no provincial sales tax, no payroll tax, and no health care premiums.

Government initiatives are helping to make two diversification projects in the Industrial Heartland a reality, and the construction of two pipelines will benefit families and businesses in Sherwood Park.

Some of the initiatives that are helping keep costs down are the agreement with doctors, projected to save $500 million over the next two years; and the review of Agencies, Boards and Commissions, which limits compensation for CEOS and has removed perks such as golf memberships. Government management salaries have been frozen and all political staff and MLAs took a five-per-cent cut.

The items in the budget that most directly impact Sherwood Park residents include: Highway 15 twinning from Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan (including a new bridge); rebuilding of Clover Bar Lodge; the renovation to Wye School; maintaining MSI funding to municipalities; the increase of home-care funding; the plan for a new hospital in Edmonton; and the reduction in school fees.

I was particularly pleased to see the approval for the rebuilding of Clover Bar Lodge. The board of the Heartland Housing Foundation has worked hard to make this a priority project for the government, and I would like to thank them for their efforts as senior citizens in this community will benefit for years to come from this rebuild.

Government initiatives are helping to make two diversification projects in the Industrial Heartland a reality, and the construction of two pipelines will benefit families and businesses in Sherwood Park.

If anyone is interested in getting more information on the budget, I would advise that the most direct way is to listen to the estimates discussions that start this week. If you go to www.assembly.ab.ca, you can listen to these discussions held by the Legislative Committees.

For example, the Health ministry budget will be debated on April 11 at 3:30 p.m. by the Standing Committee on Families and Communities. Please contact my office if you are interested in the date a particular ministry will be debated, or need help to access the audio link.

Last weekend, the Boys and Girls Club of Strathcona County held their annual fundraiser. Kudos to their staff and board for substantially increasing the number of spaces in their before-and after-school care programs for children. Please continue to support this group in their fundraising efforts and in their work with our youth.

Also last weekend, I was reminded how connected our industrial and business sectors are to our community recreation, artistic and social services organizations. Community fundraisers are well-supported by local industry and business; many of them provide sponsorships to groups like Festival Place. Thank you to Imperial Oil for their generous sponsorship of the Festival Place Cultural Arts Foundation’s Chautauqua tent, which will be erected this summer to honour the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.

The Chamber of Commerce will be holding its annual Great Canadian Trade Fair and Sale from April 7 to 9. We have a vast array of incredible businesses in Strathcona County. This event highlights the importance of supporting locally-owned businesses to keep our community strong.

First published in the Sherwood Park News, March 24, 2017.