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Good news about the Alberta government's travel expenses

January 28, 2018
Good news about the Alberta government's travel expenses

A few weeks ago various media reported on the Alberta government’s travel costs and other expenses for cabinet ministers and senior staff.

As the figures reported by media conflicted, I decided to take a closer look at the data.

Unfortunately the spreadsheet the government has available for download (click here to see the page where you can download it) isn’t too user-friendly – data wasn’t sorted chronologically and the expenses weren’t provided in a format conducive to Excel formulas (eg. summing several cells to calculate a total) ... I can see how people would end up with different figures.

After a bit of playing around with the formatting, I was able to sort expenses by year and calculate the following annual totals:

   Year   

Total

2012

$1,638,969.80

2013

$7,735,780.78

2014

$6,407,634.06

2015

$4,449,155.63

2016

$4,908,581.04

2017

$3,747,389.50

$28,887,510.81

 

As you can see, there’s some very good news in the data – expenses are down from a high of $7.7 million in 2013 to just $3.7 million for 2017. (To see our spreadsheet – click here)

With that reduction in mind, did you notice a difference in terms of the services you received from the government? I’m guessing that in almost every case, the average Albertan would say “no.”

This example shows Premier Notley has been incorrect over the past couple years as she constantly fear-mongered that reducing spending would lead to “firing nurses and teachers.

Reducing salaries and benefits, delaying the start of a capital project a bit, reducing the size of the government as people retire from unnecessary positions and cutting discretionary expenses are a few other examples of ways the government could scale back spending without Albertans noticing a reduction to the services they receive.

So kudos to the provincial government – they’ve cut spending by millions of dollars and the public hasn’t noticed. Now it’s time to repeat this process many more times and get our province’s $12 billion deficit under control!


P.S. If anyone downloads the spreadsheet and calculates different totals, I'd be interested in hearing the figures you calculated – ccraig@taxpayer.com

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