The premier put a swift end to the speculation yesterday surrounding potential tax increases in Alberta.
Premier Ed Stelmach made it clear that an increase in taxes, including corporate or personal taxes, or a province-wide sales tax will not help Alberta out of a recession.
“There comes a time you have to show leadership and be very clear with Albertans,” said Stelmach. “As long as I’m premier of this province there will be no tax increases.”
Stelmach said they might have to tap more into the sustainability fund to cover Alberta programs.
“That’s our savings fund. That’s why we kept that money aside, so that we could draw on those savings to cushion the dramatic drop in our revenue, but protect the programs that are so dear to Albertans.”
Stelmach said that part of “no tax increases” includes rescinding the liquor tax.
“It was something I had a hard time agreeing with. It’s been brothering me all that time.”
The liquor tax brought in approximately $180 million in revenue — depending on the amount people bought, said Stelmach. The liquor tax will be rescinded once the province meets with the liquor board.
The government still plans on investing in and building public infrastructure. Stelmach said the government has a solid plan to get Alberta through this recession and will continue to promote the province as a place to invest.
Scott Henning of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation welcomed the premier’s pledge.
“Premier Stelmach’s unequivocal promise to never raise taxes is very welcomed,” said Hennig. “He’s made a big promise today and it’s excellent news for taxpayers.”