Alberta UCP leader promises no change to personal income tax rates if elected

EDMONTON — Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney says he won’t be making any changes to personal income tax rates if his party wins the spring election.

Kenney says that with Alberta running multibillion-dollar deficits, the cupboard is bare and tax reform will have to wait.

“Because of the NDP’s fiscal train wreck, we do not have the fiscal room to reduce personal income tax rates at this time,” Kenney said Thursday.

“We can’t cut every tax at the same time while we will be inheriting something like a $7-billion deficit and a $60-billion debt.”

Kenney said the United Conservatives would delay any tax changes until the budget was balanced. They would then strike a panel to advise the government on how ”to get the most bang for the buck, in terms of jobs and growth through tax policy.”

That would include an analysis of returning to a 10 per cent flat tax on income, which was used in the province for more than a decade until it was eliminated by Premier Rachel Notley’s government in 2015.

Notley replaced it with a progressive tax. Most Albertans still pay a 10 per cent rate, but anyone earning about $128,000 a year or higher pays more.

United Conservative Party members voted last year to endorse a policy to return to the flat tax. Kenney said he sees merit to the argument, but the timing is wrong.

“I like it in principle, but I can’t commit to something when we don’t know what the overall fiscal situation will be of a future government.”

The NDP has said a return to the flat tax would equate to an annual $700-million tax giveaway to the wealthy and is indicative of a party that caters to well-heeled insiders.

Kenney reiterated that other tax changes are coming. He has previously announced that he would repeal the provincial carbon tax on heating and gasoline and gradually reduce corporate income tax to eight per cent from 12 per cent.

The NDP raised the corporate tax rate two percentage points to 12 per cent in 2015.

Kenney has also said taxes and regulatory red tape imposed by the NDP are strangling the province’s economic recovery from low oil prices.

Notley, however, has called that a red herring. She notes that Albertans still have the lowest overall taxes compared with other jurisdictions and pay no provincial sales tax.

Asked why Alberta can afford tax cuts for corporations but not for individual rate payers, Kenney said it’s the best decision in a difficult situation.

A cut to job creators, he said, would lead to economic growth that would bring higher overall tax revenue and the opportunity for more tax breaks down the road.

“You get twice as much economic bang for the buck by reducing business taxes as you do personal taxes.”

Alberta is to take in $12.1 billion in personal income taxes this year against total revenue of $49.6 billion. The deficit is being projected to come in at $6.9 billion.

Just Posted

Rural communities could face policing bills

Province considering getting smaller and rural communities to pick up a portion of policing costs

Random Acts of Green Canadian tour comes to Red Deer

Red Deerians are being encouraged to lessen their impact on the environment.… Continue reading

Free blood testing for HIV, Hep C, syphilis offered Thursday in Red Deer

Anyone can drop by from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bower Ponds pavilion

Red Deer economy bouncing back but slowly: report

While Red Deer’s economy has been in recovery mode for the past… Continue reading

Red Deer cyclist dead after being hit by vehicle

A Red Deer cyclist was killed when he was struck by a… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Couche-Tard wants to be a player in the sale of cannabis

LAVAL, Que. — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. wants to be one of the… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: A safe supply of water has long been a priority for Red Deer

The oldest part of the Red Deer water treatment plant on 54th… Continue reading

New parent charged in admissions scam, linked to $400K bribe

BOSTON — A woman accused of paying $400,000 to get her son… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re “stepping away” from ice dancing

Canadian ice dancing stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they are… Continue reading

Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

TORONTO — If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn… Continue reading

13 seasons in, stars reflect on success of ‘Heartland,’ Canada’s ‘comfort food’

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — Alberta-born actor Shaun Johnston had already had a… Continue reading

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Most Read