Alberta health-care premiums are one of the province’s most hated taxes, according to a taxpayer watchdog, but they could soon be on the way out as the Tories aim to secure voters in an upcoming election.
During a press conference yesterday, Premier Ed Stelmach hinted that the premiums, which cost most Albertans $44 per month, could be eliminated.
"There is a little bit of a squeeze on the middle income earners," he said. "Things are going well in the province, good economy, but … those are the individuals that we’re listening to very carefully."
Rumours are flying that the premiums could be replaced with some other forms of tax incentives as a key plank in Stelmach’s Monday afternoon throne speech.
The premier said such decisions would have to fall within balanced budgets, but he agreed that the province’s revenue, at least in the short-term, is quite strong.
Earlier in the day, Scott Hennig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation had delivered a petition to the premier’s office signed by several thousand people, calling for the premiums to be axed.
They are regressive tax, he said, that punish low-to-middle income families while being incredibly difficult to administer.
He’ll be watching Monday’s throne speech, he said, to see if the long-sought-after tax cut will finally occur.