Schweitzer 9/6/3 Plan to save $500 million

Jun 09, 2017

Proposal would ‘reset’ public sector compensation in order to help balance Alberta’s budget and get Albertans back to work.

Alberta conservatives deserve to know about the policies of their leadership candidates and today Doug Schweitzer announced the first part of his four year fiscal plan to create jobs, get spending under control, and get Albertans back to work. Today’s announcement focused on a key element of his plan: getting spending under control through a “reset” of public sector compensation under the guidance of his 9/6/3 Plan.

Reckless spending by the NDP has resulted in massive deficits and downgrades to Alberta’s credit rating. The NDP government’s projections show that, by the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the deficit will be $7.2 billion and Alberta’s debt will have grown to $71 billion. The NDP’s irresponsible actions will increase the cost of borrowing, which means higher taxes and fewer jobs for Albertans in the long run. Alberta conservatives will need to begin a series of measures, should they form government in 2019, to bring the operating budget back into balance.

“My wife works in the public sector, my mom was a teacher and my dad was a police officer for a short time. I know how hard our public-sector employees work and how much they contribute to our province. The 9/6/3 Plan is intended to ensure we can continue to deliver services in a sustainable way, while avoiding job losses, and reducing the tax burden on all Albertans. “

- Doug Schweitzer, candidate for leader of the United Conservative Party

In order to bring costs under control, while protecting jobs and public services, Schweitzer would set the following targets through his 9/6/3 Plan:

• For politicians and political staff, a 9% reduction in wages and benefits from 2019 levels.

• For those making over $120,000, effectively the sunshine list, a 6% reduction in wages and benefits from 2019 levels.

• For the rest of the Alberta public sector, including universities, hospitals and the education sector, a 3% reduction in wages and benefits from 2019 levels.

• After this “reset” of public sector compensation, wages would then be allowed to grow by no more than 1% a year for the next three years.

• Once the budget is balanced, wage growth would then grow roughly in line with inflation.

Other measures to reduce the size and cost of government would include a two-year hiring freeze and a vacancy management program that would leave unfilled positions vacant, unless they involve crucial front-line services such as nurses, teachers, paramedics and doctors. The hiring freeze would be reviewed after two years and continued if necessary.

After these reductions, Alberta will continue to have the highest paid provincial public service in Canada. It is estimated that these cost control measures would reduce overall provincial government spending by at least $500 million in 2019-2020. This would be a meaningful step toward a balanced budget.

“Alberta cannot afford to have the highest-cost provincial government in Canada. This is a burden that the NDP are putting on our children and grandchildren. It’s wrong, and I won’t allow it to continue. It is not sustainable for Alberta to remain so far out of line with the rest of Canada, particularly with the thousands of Albertans that have lost their jobs and the uncertainty of oil and gas prices. A united conservative government under my leadership would work with the public service to lower compensation so we can tackle the NDP debt while protecting government jobs and public services.” - Doug Schweitzer, candidate for leader of the United Conservative Party

Schweitzer’s four-year fiscal plan will contain a mixture of spending controls, tax relief and investment in needed infrastructure, while protecting frontline services. Further details of Schweitzer’s plan to get Albertans back to work will be released in the weeks ahead.

“We can’t afford eight straight years of the NDP. It will push Alberta to the brink of a fiscal crisis. We need a United Conservative Party leader who can defeat the NDP, get spending under control, and get Albertans back to work.”

- Doug Schweitzer, candidate for leader of the United Conservative Party

Showing 16 reactions

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  • This sounds like another socialist (leftist) plan. Read this, give your head a shake, and stop pretending you know how to lead the UPC, merely because you are a lawyer.
  • We Albertans deserve a “bull in a china shop” leader, the likes of Ralph with the infamous business savy of Pocklington. I judge a man by what he’s been through. All respect to Doug and Jason, but a career lawyer and a career politician doesn’t really cut it in my books. You’ll get more good ideas about how to fix this province at the local Tim’s in Claresholm. All any of these leaders need to do is just “hang out for a while” and bring a pencil.
  • I’ve mostly heard from Kenney and Jean who don’t impress so far. I was hoping to see something more imaginative from Schweitzer but am disappointed.

    The policies I have read so far seem to reflect the same old conservative talk points.

    Cut taxes and cutting spending to balance the budget doesn’t work and I’ve yet to see a conservative government make it work in either Canada or the US. We usually end up with bigger deficits under this plan because the growth that is always promised from tax reductions never sufficiently makes up for lower tax revenue. Deficits remain the same or grow.

    We absolutely need to balance the budget and cutting taxes may play well to the base but it puts the cart before the horse.

    You need to cut spending first and in gradual manner and once you have a balanced budget, then reduce taxes.

    Schweitzer’s plan ensures we don’t eliminate the deficit. Neither does Kennedy’s or Jean’s.

    For example, we should bring back health care premiums which was foolishly eliminated under Stelmach. It’s a service like any other and should not be subsidized except for those with low income. There’s 2 billion plus right there. Can anyone tell me why I get free health care. Under old system I’d be paying 1000-1500 today which is a helluva bargain compared to US!

    Keep the carbon tax until budget is balanced and stop returning it to voters except for low income.

    I want to support a conservative candidate but all I see is same old policies remedies and same old rhetoric. Balancing the budget will require some pain and failure to address that only ensures failure.

    I believe government needs to be smaller and less intrusive but getting from here to there will take some imagination and out of the box thinking which is clearly lacking from current crop of candidates.

    Best regards
  • How do you know what the 2019 salary and benefits are? How could you reduce it if you do not know that? And since most of the public sector are unionized and have binding collective agreements, how do you pose to reduce the salaries and benefits?
  • The ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions) take a big chunk out of our every year’s provincial budget. I don’t know what sort of regulations have been put in by the NDP folks about compensation but they are not enough. For example the CEO of AHS is making a substantial salary as is the CEO of Covenant Health. These positions -in my opinion-are overcompensated for. The universities and colleges are also forking out big bucks for faculty and executive staff. I doubt that we are going to be able to afford these salaries in the future.

    The PCs wasted a ton of cash in terms of compensation of the former health authorities and the creation of AHS was best in terms of amalgamation of all the previous health authorities and their expensive CEOs / executive staff. However the current CEO and executive staff at AHS need to have their compensation reviewed and pruned. Covenant Health is a private entity and yet it has similar overcompensation in place for its CEO and executive staff with our public dollars and possibly supplemented with Covenant Health funds. It’s not acceptable in my opinion that the elite are buffered from the economic woes of the rest of society. The money that can be saved from the ABCs is substantial and ongoing.

    I doubt that the UCP will do anything about these compensation packages and will simply go after front end staff. Too bad. The real waste is at the top and in the numbers of managers supervising managers for chatter sessions without deliverables. No matter who is hired we can’t keep this ongoing haemorrhage of cash from the ABCs and GOA departments continuing. How many GOA workers do we need to run the province? Not as many as we currently have. Each and every employee needs to have deliverables or be out the door. We’re not a charity and why should we pay for workers -including politicians who don’t do anything for us?
  • looking at the comments of the ndp people trying to save their gravy train mainly public service workers who put themselves first before the good of the province your 9/6/3 plan will never work it just makes the public sector angry and is not even close to whats needed Alberta needs a strong leader who can understand and communicate who starts fireing people and make it law that no one is forced to be part of a union you Schweitzer are being a politician not a leader and if you want alberta to support you be a leader not a politician
  • We need to hold the large oil companies accountable for the cost of doing business in Alberta and stop putting the burden on the tax payers of Alberta. You want blame the current NDP government for the financial mess that we are in and the borrowing the has been done. Where is the money that the Conservative government miss managed for the 41 years they governed this province. The orphaned well program should not even exist but the Conservative government never held the large oil companies responsible for clean up, instead allowing these companies to ignore their responsibilities through loop holes and just plain ignoring the situation altogether. The public sector wants to hear concrete plans on how the government parties plan to invigorate the slumping economy, not where the money can be grabbed back.
  • Not surprisingly, comments re: 9/6/3 plan posted by members of the public sector on social media indicate that they (in particular teachers who have already experienced wage freezes for many years) do not support further freezes let alone your desire for a 3% wage roll back. Not only have front line workers not faced wage increases, but they’ve been burdened with undesirable working conditions (teachers facing extremely large classes with diminished resources and supports). Why should they carry the burden of an increased tax rate and a wage cut while wealthy individuals see a tax cut as you institute a return to flat taxes?

    Your social policies are compatible with leftist or centrist views rather than those of your chosen party (as indicated by years of party members’ comments and voting records records on human rights bills in addition to the party selection of interim leader); however, your fiscal targets are so far right that they support the old boys’ network of financially advantaged businessmen who comprise your party. Hence, I respect your moral compass, but I seriously question why you feel the necessity of solving Alberta financial woes by targeting frontline workers rather than those individuals and corporations with considerable means and not necessarily in line with your morality.
  • So, the fact that public sector managers, and all ABC’s will have been in a wage freeze for 3 years, ending March of 2019, will effectively mean that you will be rolling back wages on those individuals to pre-2016 wages…perhaps a little more thought should go into this plan…
  • Does this mean doctors will get a %6 wage cut?
  • I suspect you will be in good company, as other UCP leadeship candidates will join you in the race to “rebalance” the public/private sector inequities. Alberta had a very protracted run of top salary and wage increases that put both sectors at the top of provincial comparisons. It is interesting that your campaign focuses primarily on claw-backs from the public sector and a redistribution of this revenue to high earning individuals and corporations in the way of tax cuts. You actions would seem to be the very opposite of the NDP, and about as punitive as the NDP policies are to business growth. I would argue that two wrongs do not make a right.
  • As of March 16, 2017, regulations governing compensation for CEOs of boards, agencies, and commissions became effective. These regulations do indeed eliminate what some individuals have deemed as excessive (e.g., bonuses, executive market modifiers, perks) in addition to capping severance to 12 months, and outining financial compensation (base salary and benefits) aligning with the public sector which, in many cases, results in cuts. Renumeration is in effect for all new appointees, reappointees, and incumbents after a 2 year notification period. To be fair to all parties involved, I believe no further action should be considered without permitting a fair trial to determine if the March actions are sufficient.

    The list of agencies, boards, and commissions is substantial. However, after reviewing the listing, I’d be reluctant to eliminate or merge bodies without significant analysis. Each body serves distinctive needs and checks in the system. For example, amalgamation of agencies which address similiar segements of the public or industry could actually render inefficient services resulting in catastrophic decisions or oversights.
  • I am curious what you would do about the major numbers of ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions). Would you amalgamate or prune severely? I believe that most of our yearly budget services the ABCs. Just decreasing compensation and controlling future increases to inflation levels would not reduce the yearly costs of the ABCs. Something needs to be done and I don’t believe any of the political parties are willing to touch the problem of ABC excesses.