Letter – It's time for Alberta to adopt a sales tax
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 06:00 am
Dear Honourable Alison Redford,
Although I voted PC and generally align with the party’s political perspectives, in light of an increasing number of alarming revelations regarding a diverse range of financial dilemmas, I respectfully submit for the consideration of your government, this brief argument for increasing and reconfiguring taxes as soon as possible.
Your government is no doubt striving to provide an excellent quality of life for Albertans. While your efforts are commendable amidst continued global economic uncertainty, I believe that in addition to merely striving for more efficient governance (i.e. stealing from Peter to pay Paul), we have to accept that there is only so much planning, cabinet-shuffling and new legislation that can occur before we finally have to acknowledge that we are no longer living pre-1937, and the times have drastically changed since the provincial sales tax was rescinded back then.
As evidenced by the recent budget deficit, the economic realities of today suggest that Alberta cannot depend upon natural resource prices and speculative pipeline approvals alone, therefore I urge you to immediately consider two courses of action:
1) Reintroduce a provincial sales tax – even if only temporarily, and even if as low as just one per cent initially; and
2) Reconfigure the income tax model, so that it is no longer simply a flat-rate of 10 per cent.
Regarding point No. 2, incremental income tax brackets (in accordance with one’s income) is the taxation model applied within every other province (ranging from lows of around five per cent in B.C. and Ontario, to highs of more than 15 per cent in Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia).
This taxation model ultimately makes survival easier for the less fortunate, without unduly burdening the wealthy either. Saint John wrote: “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
In this regard, there are many people in Alberta with not only two shirts, but with 20. While I am not suggesting that the government redistributes all 19 spare shirts, I believe that the wealthiest Albertans would indeed be prepared to give away slightly more than 10 per cent – in order to ensure that their children have appropriately-sized classrooms, safer highways, reduced emergency room wait times, increased municipal infrastructure funding and a brighter overall future – without the government needing to contemplate delaying much-needed projects or introducing austerity measures.
The old saying goes: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” We get what we pay for and we never get something for nothing, which is why I believe Albertans are willing to pay slightly more today than we were in 1937.
Craig Walker, St. Albert