Oil prices, tax income keep Alberta first quarter revenue in line with last year

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EDMONTON, A.B. – A first-quarter fiscal update from the Alberta government is reporting consistent revenues compared with the same period last year.

The province says it brought in $13.4 billion from April to June _ almost identical to the number in 2018.

It says resource revenue was $164 million higher, mainly from a narrower oil price differential.

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Income tax revenue was also up due to growth in household income and corporate profits.

But it says operating expenses grew $270 million and debt servicing costs increased $93 million.

Premier Jason Kenney has said he won’t release his United Conservative government’s first budget until the fall to give an appointed panel time to examine Alberta’s finances.

The panel, headed by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, was to complete its report earlier this month. The province has said it plans to release the report in early September.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said Tuesday that the latest update shows Alberta has work to do to get back on track after big spending by the previous NDP government.

“Compared to Q1 last year, we are now paying an additional $93 million on debt servicing instead of on programs and services for Albertans. Burdened with cost pressures and compounding debt left by previous governments, we have to find ways to exercise restraint,” Toews said in a statement.

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