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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 8, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta The Lcthlnidnc Herald LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1975 Countdown 2 days to go 20 Cents Socreds: budget regurgitation of the past Budget calls for record expenditures Income tax cut 28% By AL SCARTH Herald Legislature Bureau EDMONTON Southern Alberta MLAs were pleased Friday night to see their par- ty's proposal for an Alberta Heritage Trust Fund made a reality by the government. That, fund, which will put aside oil revenues so they can- not be squandered on day to day programs, and 28 per cent personal income tax cut were the only new items in the Conservative government's fourth budget. "It was a regurgitation of the past and no projections into the Ray Speaker (SC Little Bow) said after the budget address. "Eighty per cent of it was talking about things done in the past four years." Mr. Speaker said he was pleased to see the heritage fund, "but the budget contain- ed no ground rules or tions, and the people of Alberta have to know how the government is going to spend that money. They don't want- to see it squandered." Mr. Speaker; who will open the budget debate Monday', said "he was "very disap- pointed" there were not greater increases for irriga- tion projects. The government is pouring in money for headworks, but neglecting the districts themselves, he said. New approach needed "We've now reached the zenith of a type of financing where non-tax benefits are be- ing distributed on a more and more political former provincial "treasurer Ted Hinman (SC Cardston) charged. "The time has come for a completely new approach both to revenue sources and revenue Mr. Hinman said. He said there must be a "redivision of responsibilities for people ser- vices" between local and provincial governments. People must also be allowed to share' equally in the benefits of the province through direct dividends, "op- posed to the benefits they are giving to different groups." Leighton Buckwell (SC Macleod) told The Herald he considered the budget "a fair- ly responsible one" consider- ing the huge sums available to the government. "It really reflects the ac- tions of the Arabs rather than our own he added. "They're certainly self satisfied with themselves." 'Midas touch' passed on John Anderson (SC Lethbridge East) said "we're lucky to be in the right place at the. right time. The Arab sheiks passed on the midas touch to our provincial treasurer." Mr. Anderson said govern- ment claims about greatly increased spending compared with the Socred years are not valid. Using percentage increases is unfair because a dollar is worth less now. Dick Gruenwald (SC Lethbridge West) was not available for comment. Mr. Gruenwald caught his usual bus home Friday afternoon, saying he could read about the budget in the newspaper. Charlie Drain (SC Pincher Creek Crowsnest) said that while senior citizen pension increases will be wiped' out by inflation, "no one can deny that there were significant initiatives in the social field." But he said already booming economy to a higher level "is definitely not the direction for the government to go." Consider- ing the rate of inflation, pre- sent trends can prove "catastrophic" in the future. Now it's official Considering the season, it wasn't a bad day for a bridge opening Friday. The snow stopped and the sun came out on schedule and it was stijl shining at 4 p.m. when Minister of Highways Clarence Cbpi- thorne and Mayor Andy Anderson stepped forward to cut the bright pink ribbon strung across the east end of the 6th Avenue S. bridge. About 60 shivering spectators witnessed the brief ceremony. Mr. Copithorne, who was accompanied by his wife, flew back to Edmonton after a reception to be on hand for the reading of the budget in the legislature at 8 p.m. Aha., Ottawa relations enter This Weekend J 'friendlier phase' Macdonald SNIFFING A 14 year old Reglna girl diet attar snIHing lacquer thinner. Writer Suzanne Zwarun tries to find a moral In the story.Weekend Page 21 LEAKY BOOTS Presbyterian minister Larry Hanklnton reports his Baptist neighbors lend him leaky boots whenever he plunges adult members through the Christian water ritual. Page 13 BONSPIEL The 39th annual Shirtsleeve Bonsplel Is In the home stretch with finals set lor Sunday. Page 14 TRANSFORMATION About 700 volunteers are helping with the tran- sformation at Lethbridge Collegiate Institute and Catholic Central as the city prepares to make a home tor some Winter Games visitors. Page 19 100 Pages Classified........30-35 Comics............26 Comment.........4, 5 19-21 Family......... 22-25 Markets........10, 28 Religion.........11-13 Sports...........14-16 Theatres............7 TV.................6 Weather............3 OTTAWA (CP) J- Relations between Ottawa and Alberta may be entering a friendlier phase after months of bitter- ness, Energy Minister Donald Macdonald suggests. In an interview Friday with The Canadian Press, Mr. Macdonald attributed improv- ed relations to a cordial at- mosphere in negotiations dur- ing the last two weeks on the future of the Syncrude oil sands project. The federal, Alberta and Ontario governments worked out a joint rescue operation for the financially-troubled Alberta project. All three governments wound up as shareholders, along with three oil companies already involv- ed in the consortium. Discussing scheduled fed- eral-provincial negotiations in April on oil and natural gas prices, Mr. Macdonald remarked that the Syncrude talks just completed were marked by cordiality, for the first time in months. "One of the interesting political conse- Canada predicted to have petroleum surplus by 1985 LOW TONIGHT 5 HIGH SUN. 26 buy Occnknal Stow. Herald Ottawa Bureau OTTAWA Canada, which becomes a net importer of oil later this year, should be able to regain an oil surplus posi- tion by 1985, Energy Minister Donald Macdonald predicted for the first time Friday. The energy minister now believes that Arctic oil will be available in sufficient quan- tities in southern Canada by 1985 to offset a substantial oil shortage forecast by the National Energy Board, an aide to the minister explained Friday. And for Arctic oil to be of any use, a major Arctic oil men- tions the possibility of a U.S.- Canada Mackenzie Valley oil line, paralleling the proposed Mackenzie Valley natural gas would have to be built by 1985. Speaking in the House of Commons, the Energy Minister referred specifically to exploration successes'this winter in the North as part of the basis for his renewed op- timism in Canada's oil future in the 1980s. "There is a real prospect for the development of ad-, ditional hydrocarbon (oil and gas) resources, in the Mackenzie Delta and, ul- timately, in the Beaufort Sea." he said. And Ottawa is "taking measures with industry" to permit the Arctic exploration program to go ahead. Addis Ababa Eritreans joining northern rebels ADDIS ABABA (Reuter) About Eritreans have left Addis Ababa to join the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) since virtual civil war erupted in Ethiopia's northern province of Eritrea eight days ago. But they discounted reports that there had been mass ar- rests of Eritreans living in the Ethiopian capital. The strength of the Eritrean community in Addis Ababa is estimated at about many of whom hold senior posts in the civil service, the professions, and business. They also make up the bulk of taxi drivers' in the Ethio- pian the exodus has made a visible impact on Addis Ababa's roads, where the vast fleet of small blue- and-whitc taxis has con- siderably diminished. Ethiopian authorities here suspect that the leaders of the ELF are in Addis Ababa, pro- viding guerrillas in the field with intelligence on military movements from the capital.. ob- this past two weeks' discussions is that a federal-Alberta relationship which had been very much at arm's length and rather inter- mittent was conducted .with far greater cordiality than for some time." He added that the same peo- ple were involved in the cor- dial Syncrude talks as in more bitter negotiations on oil pol- icies during the last 15 and Alberta Pre- mier Peter Lougheed. But, at the same time, the minister said there is still some tough bargaining ahead, especially on a new oil price agreement and an accord on natural gas prices. A natural gas pricing system now in operation in Alberta could double prices by Nov. 1, the minister said, bringing them to a commodity value equal to the price for an equivalent amount of oil. Both the eastern consuming provinces and the federal gov- ernment favor gradual in- creases to commodity values, reaching them over a period of two or three years. At pre- sent the commodity value is about (1.25 a.thousand cubic feet, little more than twice the present well-head price. EDMONTON (CP) A basic reduction of 28 per cent in Alberta's personal income tax and selective tax reduc- tions that will remove low-income Albertans from the tax rolls were announced Friday night in the provin- cial government's pre-election budget. Provincial Treasurer Gordon Miniely told the legislature in his budget speech that the tax cuts, effec- tive Jan. work out to an average of for each taxpayer and will increase the disposable income of Albertans by million to help counteract, the effects of inflation. The 1975-76 budget calls for record expenditures of billion, an increase of 17 per cent over the current fiscal year ending March 31, and revenues of billion, an increase of 15 per cent, for a surplus of million. The budget does not include an estimated million of the anticipated billion the government expects to receive from crude oil and natural gas during 1975-76. The million will go into an Alberta Heritage Trust Fund "to ensure the prosperity of future generations of Albertans." In a budget briefing, the treasurer told reporters a min- imum of billion will be available to the fund by Dec. 31, 1975. Use not specified The government has not defined specifically how the money will be used, he said in the budget speech, although it will not be used for normal budgetary expenditures and should be invested "in such a way as to promote diversification of our economic base." The budget represents "the complete reversal of the finan- cial position of the provincial government... to the strongest position of any provincial government in said Mr. Miniely. He said selective tax reductions will provide million in benefits to an estimated Albertans with taxable incomes below "The combined effect of the general and selective tax reduc- tions is to reduce Alberta income tax by 64 per: cent for in- dividuals with taxable incomes of and by 39 per cent for individuals with taxable incomes of The treasurer said reductions in personal income taxes had made Albertans "the lowest taxed citizens in Canada in every major tax area." Alberta's personal income tax rate now will be 26 per cent of basic federal tax, and the next lowest are British Columbia and Ontario, both with 30.5 per cent. Gasoline tax in Alberta is 10 cents a gallon, and the next lowest is Saskatchewan with 12 cents. However, Alberta's corporate tax rate of 11 per cent is higher than the 10 per cent of three Maritime provinces. Mr. Miniely said the Alberta government can maintain its tax cuts only "so long as oil and natural gas revenues maintain their current levels." If world prices for oil or natural gas decline, or Ottawa "takes further action to jeopardize these revenues, higher per- sonal income taxes may be required in the future." The budget is the fourth presented by the provincial Pro- gressive Conservatives, who are completing their first-ever term of office. Ah election is widely expected for this spring or Agriculture spending cut The total increase in the operating budget for 1975-76, after deducting million for emergency assistance to farmers and municipalities in 1974-75, is million. The agriculture department's 1975-76 estimate of non-capital expenditures is about .million, a 49-per-cent reduction from forecast spending in the current fiscal year when the govern- ment spent substantially more for emergencies. The budget increases payments to hospitals by million or 21 per cent, of which, about 75 per cent will be received by hospital employees in the .form of higher salaries. Hospital funding is the largest single expenditure by the prov- ince, accounting for'almost million or close to 20 per cent of Alberta's total operating budget commitments. Total direct financial assistance to Alberta municipalities will increase 28 per cent to million in 1975. Unconditional municipal assistance grants will increase IS per cent to million. More budget stories on Page 29 Farmers assured of 'lowest costs' Seen and heard About town Jim Wright being dealt a 29 cribbage hand, followed by a 20 hand, and still losing the game to Brent Stickel. Herald Legislature Bureau EDMONTON This is not the year for agriculture in the Alberta budget but the government says its programs should continue to assure the lowest input costs in the world for Alberta farmers. At first glance agricultural expenditures in the budget brought down Friday night appear to plummet 48.7 per cent for 1975-76. But if you ex- clude emergency assistance programs and one-time only expenditures from last year's estimates, expenditures will increase 4.6 per cent. Irrigation expenditures also appear to take a beating in this budget until last year's expenses for capital works rehabilitation and takeover of the Bow River Irrigation District, are considered. The department of agriculture plans to spend million in 1975-76 on irrigation in Southern Alberta, down 44.5 per cent from last year, but still an increase over previous years. The estimates do not include at least another million in capital works included under various en- vironment department appropriations. A natural gas rebate plan, property tax reduction plan, fuel allowance and the income tax reductions "should assure that agricultural input costs for Alberta farmers are among the lowest for any commercial agricultural producers in the Mr. Miniely said in his budget address. The budget for the Lethbridge regional services offered by the department is increased 15.5 per cent to ;