What can Albertans expect from Thursday’s provincial budget?

The provincial government met on Wednesday to begin its spring session with budget 2024 set to be announced Thursday.

The provincial government’s spring session began on Wednesday, with the province presenting its 2024 budget to the legislature.

Some of the key topics on the budget include a shift in Alberta Health Services, affordability, cutting red tape for businesses, and dealing with public safety.

When it comes to health care, government House Leader Joseph Schow says the province has heard from Albertans that the current system in health care is insufficient. AHS is expected to be replaced by four agencies that will reduce the role of the service provider for acute care.

When asked what it would look like, Schow said: “Any legislation coming forward in health care will be in the best interest for Albertans based on the consultation we’ve had and done with Albertans.”

When it comes to pocketbook issues, the government’s broken a campaign promise to lower provincial taxes. But Schow claims there won’t be any new taxes.

“Alberta is the lowest tax jurisdiction in the country,” he said. “Also, we have no PST. So I would already say we are doing our best as a province to make sure life remains affordable for Albertans.”

Political science professor Chaldeans Mensah says the most important part of the budget is always health care because it takes up such a large portion. He expects there will be a significant investment if the province is changing the health-care system.

“Clearly this transformation of the health-care system is going to be a major focus for this government,” Mensah said. “Therefore the necessary resources that are required to make this become a reality will have to be indicated in the budget.”

In a statement to CityNews, Opposition House Leader Christina Gray feels the Alberta NDP is heading into the legislature sitting with “way less information than we normally have.”

“As the official Opposition, we are prepared to represent the concerns of everyday Albertans, including the immediate need for wildfire preparedness. My colleague Heather Sweet has pressed the UCP to release more information, and with so few details announced, we are bringing forward an emergency debate on wildfire preparedness (Wednesday) that we hope the government will support. This is an urgent issue for communities and for front-line workers.

“We’re also heading into the legislature to talk about affordability, as Danielle Smith has broken her promise to Albertans to bring in a tax break this year. And we’re heading into the legislature to talk about health care, as Danielle Smith has broken her promise to Albertans to address the challenges the UCP has created in the system.”

Alberta’s 2024 budget will be released Thursday.

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