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Alberta government passes $43-billion budget for 2014-15

EDMONTON — The Alberta government has officially approved its $43-billion budget for 2014-15.

The document has completed third reading and the governing Tories used their majority to pass it 33-20.

The budget forecasts a $1.1-billion surplus in day-to-day spending but infrastructure debt is pegged to hit $21 billion by 2017.

The Opposition Wildrose has criticized Finance Minister Doug Horner for plunging Alberta back into the red less than a decade after former premier Ralph Klein paid off the province’s $23-billion debt.

Horner has said borrowing for building is prudent because interest rates are low and tens of thousands of newcomers are arriving in Alberta each year.

Critics also say the budget is presented in a confusing format to hide the deficit, and auditor general Merwan Saher (MUHR’-wahn SAH’-hehr) has said it doesn’t meet general accounting standards.

 
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