Comments made by the premier of Alberta last week about looking at all new revenue sources, including a potential provincial sales tax, have irked the opposition parties.
Premier Jim Prentice said, at an Edmonton Luncheon earlier last week, that the province is opening the door to all potential new revenue sources, and is willing to listen to Albertans on their thoughts.
“I’m prepared to be educated and to hear from the people,” Prentice said in the speech.
Shayne Saskiw, Wildrose party house leader, said that the words of the premier are disheartening.
“In the last speech from the throne, on Nov. 17, the premier was very clear there would not be provincial sales tax,” Saskiw said. “This would be another broken promise by this new premier.”
According to Saskiw, in the last five years there have been record revenues for the province.
“During those five years, not one penny was saved and the last thing that we need to do when the economy is struggle a little bit is to raise taxes.”
Saskiw added that Prentice can’t tax his way out of a low oil price regime.
“The Wildrose is proposing that we look at the spending side,” he said. “There is a spending problem in this province and the Wildrose would look at that before any new taxes.”
Saskiw said that he isn’t sure who the premier wants to talk to, but Albertans the Wildrose party have spoken with aren’t in favour of a potential PST.
“The Albertans that I’m talking to are not saying that ‘one thing we want in an economic downturn is a PST.’ Not one person has told me that.”
Alberta NDP finance critic Brian Mason said that the people of Alberta are once again being asked to pay for the PC mistakes and mismanagement of the province’s finances.
“The New Democrats will not support a sales tax while corporations and very wealthy Albertans continue to get off scot-free. The NDP continues to call on the PCs to protect our key public services, to scrap the flat tax and introduce a progressive taxation system where every Albertan pays their fair share.”