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Locals get chance for input into provincial budget

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Taber Times

A budget is a complex document at the best of times.

But when that budget involves a growing province just past the four-million mark in terms of citizens, the numbers involved are that much more important.

On Thursday, area citizens will have their opportunity to weigh in on the process, as the government’s Budget 2014 open house rolls into town.

Jessica Jacobs-Mino, the acting press secretary for Alberta’s Treasury Board and Finance department, said the stop in Taber will build on last year’s tour, and help Minister Doug Horner craft next year’s budget.

It all started Saturday with an economic summit, as Horner will now embark on a tour which will run from Oct. 9-18.

“It’s a multi-pronged approach as we get going on Budget 2014,” said Jacobs-Mino of the tour. “It’s the continuation of the conversation we started last year.”

She added the 2013 tour led the government to make two very important conclusions —Albertans wanted the government to save for the future, both in good economic times and bad, and alternative financing options were needed to help communities deal with infrastructure issues.

“The question now becomes, what are we saving for over the long term? If we are going to save for the next 15 years, what is the purpose of that saving?”

Jacobs-Mino added the hope is the open houses will help the government answer those questions, and give input on what help is needed to help stay ahead of the growth curve in the province.

“We are also expecting general feedback of all kinds,” said Jacobs-Mino, who added southern Albertans can attend on open house or fill out an online survey at http://www.alberta.ca to take part in the process.

“Between all of these things coming together, we want to get a sense of where Albertans are on these issues.”

Thursday’s session will run at 10 a.m. in Taber at the Heritage Inn. There will also be a Friday session in Lethbridge at 1 p.m. at the Lethbridge Lodge.

Jacobs-Mino added Horner is hoping for a large turnout at both events.

“They are completely public consultations. We are hoping to hear from as many Albertans as we can.”

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