By Letter to the Editor on July 9, 2020.
Most of us can appreciate the services that taxes buy, like highways without potholes for example, public schools that welcome every child in the community and a public health-care system that won’t bankrupt us when we get sick. Yet, we grumble about paying taxes.
Nonetheless, Alberta is broke again thanks to the collapse of oil prices. Barring a miracle, the good old days of propping up Alberta’s anemic tax system with oil revenues are likely over. Which raises the question: how will Alberta manage its latest economic bust? Cuts to government services and infrastructure don’t work, so what do we do now? There’s a better way to balance the books while we dream about higher oil prices.
If you guessed provincial sales tax, you’d be right. Every other province in Canada already uses one. Paying a modest five percent more for goods and services makes more sense than imposing harmful austerity measures on ordinary Albertans.
Boom or bust, Albertans still need quality public services. A sales tax that protects lower-income folks would help eliminate Alberta’s debt and be a significant step in boosting government coffers. It’s time to stop grumbling about taxes and get serious about adopting that long-overdue provincial sales tax in Alberta.