PGIB’s RESPONSE TO THE AlBERTA BUDGET
BY: Michael Lepitre
Saturday, March 28, 2015
The office of the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB) was bombarded with calls and emails shortly after Budget 2015 in Alberta was released yesterday. We felt the massive communication warranted a response from the organization.
Also, being the largest business and taxpayer group in Calgary we feel it is expected.
However, before my comments entitled: “How PGIB Sees The Budget” is a comment via Facebook from one of our supporters who succinctly summarizes this budget.
“Record deficit $5,000,000,000. Record increase in borrowing $9,750,000,000. Increased taxes on Alcohol, Tobacco. Higher taxes on those who work hard and become successful with an elimination of the Flat Tax (many called the Alberta Advantage). A Health care levy (tax) of $200 – $1,000 per person that is not earmarked specifically for Health Care. No real cuts and a hold on spending in the highest government spending per capita of any province in Canada.
Remember These Days?
There is no reason for the Liberals, NDP and Alberta Party to complain as this is their budget. The only difference between this budget and one the aforementioned parties would propose, is that Premier Prentice was smart enough not to raise corporate taxes in a struggling economy. Raising business taxes would just result in lost jobs and those taxes being passed onto the consumer with higher prices for products and services.”
HOW PGIB SEES THE ALBERTA 2015 BUDGET
Thursday was a day where most of Alberta is moaning and groaning. Almost every person in Alberta is now paying more taxes thanks to Premier Prentice. Many of the things that make Alberta attractive to live in could begin to fade away. Instead of attracting people to the province we could be looking at driving them away with this budget. The Alberta Advantage seems to be gone.
Driving vehicles will costs much more as fuel taxes have increased drastically. It will now cost more for registry fees, more for alcoholic beverages (the highest in all of Canada), more to go camping and even more to get married. Why are we making it less attractive for couples to marry? Now we are bringing back the health care premiums, which again is another tax. In fact, all that I have previously mentioned are taxes.
Many other new taxes have been introduced and current ones have increased, however the biggest shock is Alberta going away from the flat 10% tax. Higher income earners will now be paying a higher rate of provincial tax on their earnings. This causes more individuals to look for ways to declare less income on their taxes, which causes the less prestigious that don’t have the knowledge to structure their affairs in this way to pay more. I know many who came to Alberta because of this tax advantage and it is now gone!
Also, the fact that donation credits have been reduced drastically in Alberta will cause people to donate less and the charities to suffer!
Many, many, many new taxes and no real substantial cuts. Premier Prentice merely forced Albertans to make deep cuts in their households. There does not seem to be serious belt tightening by this spend thrift government, just the mortgaging of the future of our Children and Grand Children.
Tax increases do not bring in more revenue, it drives investment and away and hurts Albertans. Further, higher taxes will not balance the budget and this is evident in the fact that even with all this new revenue calculated into the equation, there is no balanced budget projected.
Inside of my accounting firm we meet with hundreds of people on a regular basis who are already struggling to keep up with the many increases in the cost of living in Alberta. To raise taxes on top of the increases in cost of living we have experienced, will most likely put many people over the edge.
Unfortunately, we see that many financial problems cause family problems and divorce. With the cost of living as high as it is in Alberta, this budget brings much more potential for divorces and broken families in Alberta. We have even been privy to a couple of people committing suicide because of financial difficulties. Why do we want to put more financial burden on people that can’t afford it?
There is much talk about the pricing of Oil being the reason for this ill thought budget. Oil is not the issue. We clearly have a spending problem and can if need be reflect to Premier Kleins days where he had less and did more. One of the major issues not being discussed is the frivolous spending that has happened over these last years within our Alberta Legislature.
PGIB has long pushed for proper management of resources and called for an Organizational Review of all departments. When we pushed the City of Calgary under Mayor David Bronconnier to hire an outside agency to conduct a forensic Organizational Review of all departments, the results were outstanding. Mercer & Company from Montreal was hired and found over 10 Million dollars per year in savings.
Premier Prentice has not conducted such a review and with the elimination of Bill 45, we doubt he will, as he seems beholden to the Public Sector Union. British Columbia learned to stand up to unions after decades of capitulation and has recently reported a surplus.
PGIB is deeply concerned that Premier Prentice is leading us down a path others in British Columbia and Saskatchewan have already traveled.
Premier Prentice did what most politicians do in tough times and made things tougher by resorting to a knee jerk reaction of raising taxes. Those such as Premier Brad Wall, former Premier Mike Harris and former Premier Ralph Klein took the hard, yet, proper action and made tough decisions because they put their Province and Country first.
KD Professional Services Corp.
#102 – 221 18th Street SE – Calgary, Alberta T2E 6J5
PS – All accounting for the PGIB is done by KD Professional by former CRA agents.