EDMONTON, AB – Premier Jim Prentice openly musing about introducing a sales tax is shaking economic confidence as the province prepares to siphon off billions of dollars from Alberta businesses and consumers while violating provincial law, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
Recent reports from the Retail Council of Canada have shown raising sales taxes will hurt growth, while the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is warning it will mean more red-tape slapped on the backs of businesses.
“Mr. Prentice needs to pop this trial balloon before it continues to damage confidence in Alberta’s ability to keep taxes low and grow the economy,” Wildrose Finance Critic Drew Barnes said. “The province clearly has a spending problem and needs to scrap its own wasteful spending before raising Albertans’ taxes. The longer Mr. Prentice keeps musing on plucking billions of dollars out of the pockets of Albertans by implementing a sales tax, the more it will hurt the ability to keep our businesses and economy strong.”
Introducing a sales tax would further be in violation of the Taxpayer Protection Act, which states a referendum must be held on whether or not to implement the tax after consulting the Legislative Assembly on the referendum question.
Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw said it follows a troubling pattern under this PC government where they are willing to tear up their own laws to serve their own interests instead of those of Albertans.
“We saw Stelmach tear up the province’s deficit law, then Redford change the law to muddy up the presentation of the budget, and now Mr. Prentice is looking to break his own elections and finance laws,” Saskiw said. “Instead of calling an expensive illegal early election, or bringing in a sales tax, the government should instead be focusing on the budget, ending its own wasteful spending and ensuring we have the tools in place to keep our economy growing.”