Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perfecting Alberta, Part 4: Taxes

Okay, Nation... so, we've solved the healthcare issue, overhauled Alberta's educational system, and set up the economy to succeed. Now, as the government of the future, it's time to figure out how to PAY for all this.

That's right... it's time to talk Tax Policy.

Even in the Perfect Alberta, we still have to find a way to PAY for our fantastic quality of life and standard of living... and that means taxes.

How should the people and businesses of Alberta be taxed? And at what levels?

What I want to hear about, specifically, includes issue like Corporate tax rates versus small business rates (and what constitutes a "small business")... personal income tax, and if we should even HAVE one... user fees for optional services, versus mandatory fees (aka "taxes") like the recently-departed Health Care Premiums... and yes, energy Royalties.

Should we have hospitality taxes, for attractions and accommodations? Energy taxes on things like gasoline and electricity? Taxes that only visitors pay, while residents are exempt?

It's all on the table, Nation. You decide: How does the Alberta of the future pay the bills?

We've seen the folly in the last year of paying the bills with a bank account that is overwhelmingly tied to a single sector of the economy... how do we secure our finances for the next generation, and beyond?

4 comments:

Jeff J. said...

Eliminate income tax in favour of a sales tax. Not only will people keep more of their hard earned dollars, but the gov't will actually take in more money in taxes. Why should people be taxed on what they earn instead of what they spend? Seems extremely undemocratic.

Taxes should be on consumption, not on productivity.

Also, end the debate once and for all, no matter how much government's tax tobacco the health care costs FAR outweigh the income generated. And so, once and for all, if a person uses tobacco, they need to buy their own insurance for their health care. in the same vein, stop taxing tobacco, the gov't will be ahead of the game either way.

Of course there is another simple answer, Health care costs 40% of the current budget, if we privatized health care, we would save 40% of 23 Billion dollars this year alone...that sounds like a quick way to lower taxes to me.

Juri said...

Mr. Savage, thoughts on two magic words for Albertans: Carbon Tax.

Possibly linked to a reduction in other taxes? Carbon taxes would be linked to the royalty regime probably.

Now, think about what that would for Alberta's reputation in the rest of Canada.

Stelmach has already said he's not going to raise taxes, but there's the loophole that all politicians can use: it's not really about taxes and money, it's about saving the environment.

Christopher said...

As unpopular as it is. I think that an energy consumption tax would be a good thing. It would encourage conservation, while at the same time representing the very real cost of pollution that energy use (especially from fossil fuels) releases.

I think that graduated income tax is fair, and one of the best ways to balance the inevitable fact that large companies will use their disproportional power to profit from small employees.

I DON'T like a sales tax, because it discourages people, including visitors, from buying products here. If the borders weren't porous, they might work, but since people can shop in a neighboring province or state to avoid the tax, then they fail. In fact, they penalize the poor more, because they may lack the resources to shop outside. Whereas tax avoidance is something the rich are usually quite savvy about.

Anonymous said...

think income tax should be at 25% for low earners so the poor and 30% middle earners, and a top rate of 60% income, and those tht would argue a top rate that high would cause a brain drain, well it wont beacause if a billionaire is still making millions even after a 60% tax then their lifestyle is still MUCH better than the regular albertans. oh and no sales tax fair and progressive taxes only that redistribute wealth so as to pay for all the wonderful things that we at the moment cannot pay for.