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Analysis

Jason Kenney’s 2020 Budget: Thousands of Job Losses and Privatized Healthcare to Fund Handouts to Corporations

Alberta’s 2020 provincial budget redistributes wealth from workers, seniors and students to the province’s UCP-friendly elites

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews delivered the United Conservative Party’s second budget — and once again workers, seniors and students are on the receiving end of deep cuts.

Unveiled Wednesday, Alberta’s 2020 Budget reaffirms Premier Jason Kenney’s commitment to slashing Alberta’s corporate tax rate over the next year, while moving forward with across the board cuts.

Despite cuts to public services, Kenney is still moving forward with a plan to reduce the corporate tax rate from 12% to 8% — the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada despite already being among the lowest in the country.

Here are a few things Kenney cut in 2020 to pay for that corporate tax giveaway:

$400 million cut from post-secondary education 

The budget slashes funding for post-secondary institutions by 6.3% with the government committing to pay for only 52% of post-secondary programs rather than 58%.

Meanwhile, postsecondary tuition fees will rise by 11% this year, and will continue rising by nearly 5% each year afterwards. The budget states that colleges and universities are encouraged to “pursue self-generated revenue.”

 

Public sector workers take a $610 million dollar hit

The Alberta government also promises a $610 million cut in public sector expenses, in part through a reduction of 1,436 public sector jobs.

According to Kenney’s budget, postsecondary education will account for 28% of all job losses while primary and secondary will account for 17% of job losses. Kenney is also axing 15% of all jobs in forestry and agriculture.

 

Seniors get reduced drug benefits

On top of having their family members and dependants kicked off of their drug plans next month, Alberta’s seniors are in for a cut to drug benefits of $72 million.

For-profit health clinic surgeries to double

With the goal of “encouraging the growth of the private sector,” Budget 2020 expands private health care in the province.

The budget commits to promises to privatize a chunk of Alberta’s health care system, notably outsourcing tens of thousands of surgical procedures to for-profit clinics — in an effort to double the share of surgeries in for-profit clinics over three years.

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