High oil and gas prices put Alberta on track for $13.2 billion surplus, Kenney says | Pro IQRA News

Pro IQRA News Updates.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the province is on track for a $13.2 billion surplus this budget year.

This is above the $511 million surplus predicted when the provincial budget was introduced in February.

The province is riding another wave of financial prosperity due to high oil and gas prices, along with higher royalty payouts from aging oil sands projects.

Kenney, currently on a government trip to South Korea, made the announcement in a video posted on Twitter.

Finance Minister Jason Nixon is expected to announce further details on the province’s finances for the first three months of this financial year on Wednesday.

Kenney says the windfall will allow the province to re-index non-refundable income tax powers and tax power thresholds to inflation starting this year.

He says that means the average Albertan will see a benefit of $300.

Kenney’s government has been heavily criticized for de-indexing the brackets in 2019 after promising not to punish Albertans with more taxes.

A recent study by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy says the move effectively forced Albertans to pay nearly $647 million more in taxes from 2020 to 2022.

Alberta’s economy has ridden the highs and lows of volatile oil prices for decades, with prices bottoming out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As prices have recovered, the province tabled a budget this year that projects a surplus of $511 million, dependent on the benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil price averaging $70 a US barrel.

West Texas has been much higher than that, averaging more than $100 US a barrel over the first six months of this year, and now sits in the mid-$80s.

Last year’s budget, drawn up during the economic shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, projected a deficit of $18 billion but ended up with a surplus of nearly $4 billion.

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