The tax promise would shield Albertans from tax increases without their OK
The United Conservative Party’s promise to shield Albertans from future tax hikes is a game-changer for working people and entrepreneurs.
The UCP is pledging to add personal income and business tax hikes to Taxpayer Protection Act.
The Taxpayer Protection Act is one of North America’s strongest laws protecting taxpayers.
If the government wanted to impose a provincial sales tax on Albertans, it would need to hold a referendum first.
Good luck with that.
That’s why Alberta is the only province in Canada without a PST, saving Albertans thousands of dollars per year.
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It’s part of our Alberta advantage.
Our neighbours in British Columbia pay seven per cent on kid’s bikes, cell phone bills, appliances, pet food and almost everything else. The B.C. government charges an even higher 12 percent PST on used cars. So, if someone saves $6,000 to buy a used Honda Civic to get to work, the B.C. government takes an extra $720 in PST.
The B.C. government rakes in more than $10 billion per year in the PST, about $2,000 per person.
So far, the Taxpayer Protection Act has been a serious shield for Albertans, saving people a lot of money.
Now, the UCP is promising to expand the Taxpayer Protection Act to guard against income tax hikes and business tax increases.
Imagine being a working family with kids and knowing that, if you lived in Alberta, not only would you save thousands of dollars by not having to pay a PST, but you also wouldn’t need to worry about an income tax hike.
Now picture being an entrepreneur and knowing that if you lived in Alberta, your business taxes wouldn’t get hiked.
Taxpayer protection like this makes Alberta one of the most affordable places to live in Canada and means moving trucks get overbooked in places like Ontario and British Columbia.
Last year, Alberta saw the biggest in-migration in Canada, with thousands of people moving there from other provinces.
The main reason for most of those moves was affordability. Having lower taxes and protection for taxpayers is what helps make Alberta more affordable.
The shield of the Taxpayer Protection Act is what has kept Alberta PST-free. That law saves each Albertan about $2,000 per year and draws tourist shoppers from neighbouring B.C. and Saskatchewan.
If you’re an entrepreneur, affordable business taxes really matter, too.
Alberta has the lowest general corporate income tax rate in Canada, at eight per cent, and its small business tax rate is two per cent. It compares well to other provinces.
In Saskatchewan, the corporate tax rate is 12 per cent, and its small business tax rate is at an impressive zero right now.
In B.C., the corporate tax rate is 12 per cent, and the small business tax rate is two per cent.
In Ontario, the corporate rate is 11.5 per cent, while its small business tax rate is 3.2 per cent.
Interestingly, even with Alberta’s lowered corporate tax rate of eight per cent, the revenue the province is taking in is increasing. Alberta is forecasted to pull in $6.4 billion in corporate income tax in 2022-23.
That’s a sizeable increase from the $4.8 billion the government collected in corporate tax back in 2018-19 when the tax rate was 12 per cent.
Businesses are moving here and deepening provincial revenue despite the lower tax rates lower.
Keeping this Taxpayer Protection Act promise won’t be easy. There may come a time when the government’s spending grows too fast and it will try to paper over the problem by raising taxes.
The Taxpayer Protection Act doesn’t ban tax increases; it just makes the government ask the people first.
If this expansion of the Taxpayer Protection Act happens as promised, Alberta will be an even brighter beacon to hardworking people and entrepreneurs across the country.
Kris Sims is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
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