Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No provincial sales tax for Alberta

Government of Alberta news release

Alberta Finance Minister Ron Liepert issued the following clarification of comments made yesterday in response to a question from a member of the audience at the Edmonton Economic Development Outlook conference:

“First, in the interest of absolute clarity, Premier Redford, Deputy Premier Horner and all of my cabinet colleagues are committed to preserving Alberta’s “NO PST” status."

"I was asked about a sales tax in Alberta. My response was that the issue was raised at several of our round table discussions earlier this month. Further, I then stated it was a conversation Albertans needed to have sooner or later. I needed to be more clear in stating the conversation needed was about taxation in general. We heard at every round table that participants wanted answers on how Alberta would pay for increasing costs of health care and education.

Many participants questioned why the government eliminated health care premiums and asked that they be re-instated or another dedicated funding option be considered. Many participants suggested that a modest increase in personal income tax be considered to help offset health care costs. Albertans are saying through online surveys and roundtables that spending in areas such as health and education remain their highest priority with balancing the budget second. Spending in these two areas now consumes close to 65 per cent of the provincial budget. Albertans have told us they want to balance the budget but not by making deep cuts to core programs and services.

Round table participants are asking government to spend wisely and be more efficient including the delivery of healthcare and education. It will be these ideas that will be considered by the Alberta government caucus over the coming months, not a sales tax.”

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