News | May 28, 2014

Collin Gallant, Medicine Hat NewsAlbertans pay the lowest taxes in Canada — or at least some of us do — according to a new study by Public Interest Alberta, which argues for changes to the flat tax regime in the province.The lobby group states that a graduated tax system in Alberta could raise $2 billion more in revenue while maintaining the best rates in the nation.That income would support public services, even out the budgeting process and reduce dependency on resource revenue.“By no means are we talking about jacking up taxes for corporations,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, PIA’s executive director. “We’re talking about looking at rebalancing the tax system to a progressive tax system. At the end of the day we have enough resources to not talk about what Alberta can’t do (in the budget) but what Alberta can do.”The figures were presented at a forum on Tuesday night at Medicine Hat College as part of the “Alberta Could” campaign, which is jointly sponsored by the Parkland Institute.The local stop on the six-city tour also provided local examples of what the groups say is stress caused by the 10 per cent “Flat Tax” model, in place since 1999.Last year, $147 million was cut from college budgets across the province and resulting in 18 fewer spots for nurses training in Medicine Hat.Lisa Johnson, a PIA member and local preschool administrator, said that funding uncertainty is holding back her program as well as the economy.“Every week we turn down parents who are applying for childcare spots,” said Johnson. “There just aren’t enough spots in Medicine Hat or Alberta … How can a community flourish if people can’t work?”An initial proposal would keep 10 per cent as base rate, then charge 13 per cent on income earned over $100,000, and 15 per cent over $150,000.Corporate tax rate would rise from 10 to 12 per cent — the same as Saskatchewan and lower than the national average of 12.9 per cent. The resulting income would total $2 billion, or about 5 per cent of the provincial budget.If Alberta was to adopt wholesale the Saskatchewan system, not including sales taxes, the figure would rise to $3.6 billion.PIA argues that the flat rate saved those high income earners thousands of dollars each year, those earning less than $60,000 pay more tax than their counterparts elsewhere.“The ‘tax advantage’ only works for a select group of high-earning individuals,” said David Campanella, a Parkland researcher.
Original article here)

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