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Parents, students winners in Alberta budget; Taxpayers face more debt

Last Updated Mar 22, 2018 at 5:41 pm EDT

EDMONTON – Alberta’s NDP government tabled its 2018-19 budget Thursday. Here is a look at some of the winner and losers:

WINNERS:

Parents — Spending on K-12 education to rise to $8.4 billion from $7.8 billion and some of that boost to be used to reduce school fees. The government plans to spend $22 million more on affordable child-care spaces and $6 million more on school lunch programs.

Students — Tuition to remain frozen for post-secondary students. Advanced education spending to jump to $6.1 billion from $5.5 billion.

The environmentally conscious — The government plans to spend $5.3 billion over the next three years on climate initiatives that include everything from transit projects to home efficiency programs.

The disabled — The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program is to get a boost of $62 million to $1.1 billion.

LOSERS:

Non-unionized civil servants — A salary freeze for all non-unionized government workers is being extended to 2019. Overall compensation for all public-sector workers is budgeted at $26.6 billion, about half of all government spending.

Future taxpayers — Debt is pegged $54.2 billion this year. The budget projects an $8.8-billion spending deficit in the year ahead. The budget is not expected to be balanced for another five years.