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