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Alberta Finance Minister Horner: ‘This is not going to be a fun budget’

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner arrives for a dinner meeting with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa, Dec. 16, 2012.

FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner says not to expect the next provincial budget to be fun.

He says there's no quick fix to the steep discount Alberta oil sands producers get to other crudes, which is leading to a big drop in provincial revenues.

Mr. Horner says the province has been through tough times before, but this time it's different.

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He says to expect belt tightening when he hands down the budget March 7, but not any new taxes.

Even if introducing a provincial sales tax was on the table, Mr. Horner says Albertans would likely have to vote on it in a referendum.

The government says budget consultations found that Albertans support saving money and want the province to borrow money smartly for infrastructure.

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