With the provincial budget expected on Thursday, the Alberta official opposition wants to see cuts to taxes.
Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt said personal income tax rates for many categories are virtually the same for both Alberta and B.C., so Alberta needs to be the best.
“People don’t move to Alberta for the weather, they move here for prosperity, and for opportunity, and to raise a family and to start a business. The Alberta advantage is gone right now and in fact it’s going to get worse,” said Fildebrandt.
“We’re not just competing with Saskatchewan and British Columbia, we’re competing with Texas, we’re competing with Montana, New York, and California, and the United States has a zero per cent chance of having a carbon tax right now. They are going to be cutting personal income taxes, they’re going to be cutting business taxes. And unless we want to be left out in the cold, we better get on board and get competitive again.”
Fildebrandt said he also expects the NDP government to make things difficult for the next elected provincial government, especially when it comes to handling front line staff.
“You can throw as much money at something as you like in the short term and hope for positive results, but if you’re borrowing a quarter of your budget every single year, if you cannot sustainably finance government programs in the long term, you’re not protecting front line services, you’re jeopardizing them.”
The Wildrose suggested on Wednesday that the government bring in a panel of private experts to help rein in spending.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci says he doesn’t think that’s possible.
“We have incredible professionals in Treasury Board, Finance, and across government who are looking out for the best interest of Albertans and the job of the legislature is to take that action on themselves and we’re going to continue doing it that way.”
You can listen to Minister Ceci table the budget live on 630 CHED just after 3 p.m. (djs)