May 17th, 2024

NDP oppose return of a flat tax to Alberta

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 21, 2021.


Al Beeber

Two members of the provincial NDP caucus want premier Jason Kenney to keep his promise not to bring a flat tax back to Alberta.
Community and Social Services critic Marie Renaud, the MLA for the City of St. Albert and Edmonton-Beverley Clareview MLA Deron Bilous, NDP critic for Economic Development and Innovation, spoke to media via Zoom on Monday to address the issue.
Both NDP MLAs said in the online meeting with journalists that only the province’s wealthy would benefit by a flat tax.
The National Post newspaper reported several days ago that Alberta’s premier said in a meeting with its editorial board that he thought the flat tax system had been of benefit to the province. The newspaper reported Kenney as saying the UCP might consider a return to a flat tax.
Bilous and Renaud decried the idea Monday.
“This is a big problem. The UCP already initiated their $4.7 billion handout to corporations on the promise that it would create jobs. Instead, investment dropped, our economy shrank and 50,000 jobs were lost before the pandemic,” Renaud said.
“To pay for that failed handout, the UCP raised income taxes through de-indexation of the tax code, increased school fees, tuition, camping fees and removed caps on insurance utility rates.
Renaud said the UCP also de-indexed programs such as AISH, the Alberta seniors benefit and the Alberta child-family benefit.
“And the government’s own budget figures show that de-indexing personal income taxes amounted to a $600 million tax increase on Albertans.
“We estimate that the child benefit and personal income tax alone will cost the average family of four nearly $400 in the coming year and nearly $600 come 2023,” said Renaud.
“Worse, at a time when inflation has risen sharply and people are paying more for essentials, the UCP government has caused unimaginable pain and suffering for Albertans living on fixed incomes. Cutting taxes for the wealthy while so many struggle shows just how out of touch the UCP are with Albertans. In the end, this comes down to fairness. It is fundamentally unfair to cut taxes for the wealthy while cutting support for the rest of Albertans who are struggling from the pandemic and now face rising costs,” she said.
The NDP says an analysis shows the average family of four in Alberta will pay almost 42 per cent more for gas this year and more than 10 per cent more for common grocery items including coffee and bacon. Rent, the NDP says, will cost Albertans nearly five per cent more.
It says the CEO of a public agency earning $2.7 million a year would save more than $127,400 under a flat tax while the head of a publicly traded company making more than $17 million a year, would save more than $842,000 in taxes.
Bilous told media “it’s basic math. A return to the flat tax does nothing for the majority of Albertans. Nine out of 10 Albertans would get nothing from this change. When this issue came up in the last election, expert analysis showed this would amount to a $1 billion tax cut for the top earners with $700 million of that going to the top one per cent,” Bilous said.
This figure is annual, he added.
“This does nothing for everyday hard-working families who are struggling to make ends meet. And this does nothing to create jobs or to attract talent to Alberta. This strategy is wrong. All we need to do is look at the UCP’s corporate tax cut and see how it hasn’t produced the results that they promised,” Bilous added.
He said a UCP promise to fill empty offices in downtown Calgary hasn’t materialized with office vacancy rates being at around 30 per cent.
“Meanwhile we see many of these companies in downtown Calgary sending their profits to out-of-province shareholders through dividends and share buybacks. Now Jason Kenney is relying on the same failed logic to support a flat tax. He argues it will attract people to Alberta but like corporations, people won’t move simply for low taxes,” he said.
“People move for quality of life and because they see a future there for themselves and their family. That means good jobs, affordability, access to high quality healthcare, parks and leisure and good schools that include a modern curriculum,” Bilous said.
“All of these things are under attack by the UCP.”

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter

*** An incorrect headline for this story appeared in Tuesday’s print edition. The Herald apologizes for the error.***

Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Why is the title of this article so misleading?


Thanks for the correction.


Thanks for this information. This is good, otherwise many already have problems with taxes and finances. I was lucky I did not have a problem with taxes, but only recently was able to pay off my debts. I was able to do this thanks to information I found on a financial blog.

Last edited 2 years ago by jenniferdehner9