By Eryn Pinksen
A new online survey is now open for the public to provide their opinions on the Alberta government’s budget. The consultation period began on Jan. 14.
The survey will close on Feb. 7. There will be two telephone town halls with the Minister of Finance. The Northern Alberta town hall is scheduled for Jan. 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Details on how to participate are yet to come.
The survey can be found at the Alberta government’s website under budget consultation.
The survey allows people to type in text boxes their opinions on the following questions:
• What spending priorities do you think government should focus on?
• Where do you think government could find savings?
• How should government support job creation and economic growth?
Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, says he wants to hear the input of Albertans.
“Leading up to Budget 2019 we heard from more than 4,000 people online and almost 35,000 people during our telephone town halls. Albertans demonstrated that they have incredible insight into the choices we must make together to create jobs, get out of debt and grow our economy…We made a good start in Budget 2019 and we need to keep that momentum going,” said Toews at the survey press release.
Students saw many cuts to funding and services in the budget released in October. This includes a drop in the operating budget, a lift on the tuition freeze and the removal of the student tax credit.
The student tax credit allowed students to claim tuition and cost of books and material on their taxes to be reimbursed. Anyone who has not yet claimed their student tax credits from previous years and has allowed them to accrue will still be able to claim them.
The federal government has increased upfront grants for post-secondary students and lowered the repayment interest rate to prime. The Alberta government has raised the repayment interest rate to prime plus one.
The Government of Alberta’s 2020 budget is set to release this spring.