Alberta's bare bones 1Q budget update didn't break law: auditor

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EDMONTON - Alberta's auditor general says the province didn't break its own rules by delivering a bare-bones first-quarter budget update last summer.

Merwan Saher (MUR'-wahn SAHW'-her) says the Government Accountability Act is written so broadly either a brief update or a detailed one could be acceptable.

Saher investigated after Finance Minister Doug Horner delivered the first update on the 2011-12 budget last August without basics such as a balance sheet.

It's when Albertans first learned that a projected deficit for this year would be in the range of $3 billion — more than three times what was originally predicted.

Opponents suggested the update was nothing more than a brochure and violated Alberta's law to keep citizens informed on what's happening with their money.

Saher says the government provided more details three months later in its second-quarter update, but still should have included a forecast of revenues and expenses.

Geographic location: Alberta, EDMONTON

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