For the first time in 16 years, Alberta will spend more money than it takes in. The province unveiled its budget on Tuesday and its showstopping feature is a $4.7 billion deficit, a shortfall the government doesn’t expect to make up until 2012. While Finance Minister Iris Evans tried to reassure Albertans they are in the “best boat possible” to weather the economic storm, she also noted non-renewable energy revenues have nosedived like never before, falling by about 50 per cent over the past year. The Stelmach government opted to make few cuts to programs in this budget, but Evans warned that, unless the economy bounces back over the next 12 months, she will need to find an extra $2 billion to meet next year’s targets and will leave “no stone unturned” in her search for the money.
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