Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks with reporters following a speech, Monday December 9, 2019 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canadian Taxpayers Federation slams ‘sneaky’ provincial tax grab

Tax group says “bracket creep” will cost taxpayers more

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is slamming provincial government tax changes that will cost Albertans more money next year.

“Premier Jason Kenney is reaching into taxpayers’ pockets in 2020 with his sneaky backdoor tax grab, known as bracket creep,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta director for the CTF, in a statement released Friday.

“Kenney promised to balance the budget without raising taxes, but he’s breaking that promise by hiking income taxes.”

Bracket creep happens when governments don’t move tax brackets with inflation and taxpayers automatically get bumped into a higher tax bracket even though they can’t actually afford to buy more. Bracket creep was introduced in the 2019 Alberta budget.

Leading up to the 2019 provincial budget, Kenney promised to balance the books without increasing taxes, says Terrazzano.

“It will be a credible path to bring our finances back to balance without raising taxes,” Kenney is quoted as saying.

Terrazzano said that as a Reform Party member of Parliament, Kenney penned a December 1997 column in the Calgary Herald referring to bracket creep as a “hidden and regressive tax grab.”

Bracket creep could cost a two-income household between $70 and $222 in 2020, depending on income level, says the tax group’s New Year’s Tax Changes report.

However, when including federal income-related tax changes, all Albertans earning under $200,000 per year will be paying lower taxes in 2020.

“Voters didn’t elect Kenney to put in a sneaky backdoor tax grab. Kenney was elected to clean up the budget mess without raising taxes,” says Terrazzano.

“Kenney should take his own advice and immediately cancel the hidden bracket creep tax hike.”

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