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A Review The Process Behind Institutional Reform in Alberta By Ronald Kneebone and Kenneth McKenzie When the Klein government took office in 1993 they had one goal to balance the budget without raising taxes The Process of Institutional Reform in Alberta by Ronald Kneebone and Kenneth McKenzie outlines how the Klein government achieved the impossible balancing Albertas budget without increasing taxes The authors interviewed 48 individuals including members of the government civil servants bureaucrats and various other stakeholders The general theme of these interviews was the process behind the cutbacks and institutional changes Kneebone and McKenzie highlight the key points that were made by most interviewees as to how the government balanced the budget so effectively The main elements to successful institutional reform and deficit reduction under the Klein government were 1The size and the speed of the cutbacks 2The source of Albertas deficit problem was that it had a spending problem not a revenue problem 3The importance of a big spending cut 4The Need for Speed 5The Role of Politics 6The Allocation of Cuts Across Departments 7The Budget Process 8Decentralization and Competition These eight factors were the backbone to institutional reform in Alberta McKenzie and Kneebone also point out that Alberta was in a position that was ready for reform They point out the policy reform is often typified by these six common elements Wilsford 1994 1The perception of crises- there was a definite perception of an impending financial crises in Alberta as a result of over 20 years of fiscal irresponsibility 2The presence of a relatively simple somewhat hierarchical political system that is able to act quickly- the Klein government began to implement cutbacks immediately upon election 3Strong and determined political leader- namely Ralph Klein and Treasurer Jim Dinning who stayed focused through the entire budget cutting process 4The basic elements of reform should be thought out and prepared- the government introduced the use
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