Premier Jim Prentice just announced a damaging 9% across-the-board cut to the province’s annual budget to deal with the shortfall caused by plummeting oil prices. 1 Instead of helping Alberta, these cuts will threaten our services, infrastructure and economy. Is this the “new management” we were promised?
We’re at a crossroads as a province and we can either go down the familiar, rocky path of Klein-era, scorched-earth budget cuts, or forge ahead on a new path with fair and stable revenue sources for a 21st century province.
Last week we asked you what measures the 2015 budget committee should consider. The results are in and now we urgently need to speak out to stop this absurd return to old, damaging economic policies.
83% of you support replacing the much-maligned flat tax with a progressive tax. A 2013 Environics poll showed that 72% of respondents agree with abandoning the flat tax and Prentice himself admitted that it hurts the working poor in our province. 2, 3 Despite statements by the usual suspects, there is broad support for increasing the taxes of people who can afford it, even among people in higher income brackets. 4
As for raising corporate taxes, a full 93% percent of you approved of this idea; you understand that corporations have been the prime benefactors of the so-called “Alberta Advantage”, that they haven’t been paying their fair share, and that they’ve left a province that should be wealthy staggering under a large debt, school shortages, and substandard care of our most vulnerable citizens. 5
For information on creating fair and stable revenue streams for Alberta, we recommend these following reports from the Parkland Institute based out of the University of Alberta:
- The Way Forward, Progressive Income Tax in Alberta
- Stabilizing Alberta’s Revenues: A Common Sense Approach
For a vision of what we could accomplish together as a province with fair and stable revenue streams, check out the excellent Alberta Could campaign from Public Interest Alberta.
- Alberta government criticized for ‘scorched earth’ plan to cut spending across the board
- Two Polls Show How, and Maybe Why, Alberta’s Tory Coalition is Crumbling http://albertadiary.ca/2013/03/two-polls-show-how-and-maybe-why-albertas-tory-coalition-is-crumbling.html ↩
- Flat tax ‘bites working poor pretty hard,’ Prentice says http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Flat+bites+working+poor+pretty+hard+Prentice+says/10749423/story.html ↩
- Yakitty, Yak-yak… Would the Canadian Taxpayers Federation #PLEASESHUTUP About How Jim Prentice should #BELIKERALPH http://albertapolitics.ca/2015/02/yakitty-yak-yak-canadian-taxpayers-federation-pleaseshutup-jim-prentice-belikeralph/ ↩
- Falling flat on Taxes http://www.vueweekly.com/falling-flat-on-taxes/ ↩