By Treena Mielke
The Wildrose MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre sees the NDP budget as risky and ideological with no plan to get Alberta back on the straight and narrow path of fiscal responsibility.
While the Minister of Finance Joe Ceci said the 2016 budget includes cost saving measures such as reducing the number of agencies, boards and commissions, Jason Nixon says it is a reckless budget.
“The NDP are taking on a $10.4 billion dollar deficit and a $58 billion dollar debit on the backs of Alberta taxpayers. This is the largest deficit and debt in Alberta’s history and has already resulted in a credit (rating) downgrade from AAA to AA by crediting agencies.”
The carbon levy to be introduced in January of 2017 will be a key tool to help pay for a more diversified economy. It is to be included in the price of all fuels that produce GHG emissions when combusted.
It will be applied to fuels at a rate of $20/tonne increasing in 2018 to $30/tonne.
The carbon tax is to be included in the price of all fuels that produce GHG emissions when combusted. These include transportation and heating fuels such as diesel, gasoline, natural gas and propane. It will not, however, be applied directly to consumer purchases of electricity.
The NDP government has stated it will not increase the carbon tax further until the economy is stronger and there are fewer economic unknowns federally.
Nixon said introducing a carbon tax during an economic downturn flies in the face of promises to help Albertans through their financial woes.
The carbon tax will cost the typical Alberta household $1,000 dollars per year. Even those families who receive the rebate will still be out of pocket at least $700. This is the worst possible idea when we are facing an economic downturn and tens of thousands of Albertans are out of work.
Nixon said the Wildrose party’s 12 point job action plan which includes putting the carbon tax on hold until an economic impact study can be completed will get Albertans working again.
The MLA noted that the NDP adopted the Wildrose’s plan of lowering the small business tax rate from three per cent to two per cent.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci confirmed this year’s deficit will be $10.4 billion and said there are no plans to balance the books before 2024.
The plan is not good for Albertans, said Wildrose leader Brian Jean adding that the carbon tax “unfairly targets working families.”
“There is no effort to reduce spending. Albertans were hoping for an end to risky NDP inexperience, a real plan on jobs and a vision to get our budget back in balance, but instead this NDP government is only making things worse,” Jean said.