Alberta needs to rethink its financial strategy

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With reference to last week’s budget-deficit and tax comments from Finance Minister Doug Horner, I would like to express my financial recommendations to the government:

First, explore increases (and reconfigurations) to income tax, so that it is no longer a flat rate of 10 per cent. Every Canadian province applies an income tax model that incrementally increases with earnings, except Alberta.

Second, introduce a nominal (and temporary) Provincial Sales Tax until the budget is balanced.

Angus Watt from National Bank Financial stated: “The fundamental problem we have in this province is we don’t have a personal retail sales tax. We are just not paying our fair share when you compare to other provinces.”

The economic realities of today suggest that Alberta cannot depend upon natural resource prices and speculative pipeline approvals alone. As such, I respectfully submit that the solution for making up any budget deficit is not to cut education and health care, as the finance minister’s comments of last week imply.

In my opinion, many Albertans agree with the logic in paying a little more tax over the short-term – in contrast to the inevitable repercussions of cuts: over-crowded classrooms, substandard highways, lengthy emergency waiting room times, unemployment, etc.

The finance minister’s apparent stance of “no new taxes” sounds eerily similar to what the U.S. is going through right now, which it has just days left to resolve. Even the most hard-line Republicans are beginning to see the flaws in that logic.

Craig Walker, St. Albert

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