Three bills to kick things off
The New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Rachel Notley is planning to put three bills before the legislature during its short spring session, set to last just two weeks. The first bill will change laws around political donations from corporations and unions, the second will raise the corporate tax from 10% to 12%, and Notley’s third bill is an interim supply bill to fund essential public services like education and health care until the government introduces a full budget in the fall, reports CBC.
In addition to raising corporate taxes, the party ran on a platform of raising income taxes for top earners as well. If NDP keeps to its election platform, the current 10% flat income tax will be changed to 12% for those who earn C$125,000 or more a year, and 15% for those making more than C$300,000 a year, reports BNN.
The party’s focus on raising taxes before cutting spending has been a cause for concern for critics of the new plan. “[Cutting spending] has not been done, this has not been addressed and we believe this should be the first step,” said Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, who heads the opposition to Notley’s government in Alberta.
Jean said that his part will vote against any tax increase in a briefing given before the speech in which NDP laid out its goals for the spring session. Albertans “want the government to provide a predictable future,” he said. “That would be important to do now rather than later.”
“In this we are ending Alberta’s brief and unfortunate experiment with what I’ve always said, I believe, was a regressive flat tax,” said Notley. “And we are returning to a more typical, and I would suggest, more fair, Canadian tax system.”
Royalty review to follow
One of the major concerns with NDP’s platform is their stance on adjusting royalty rates on oil and gas. Notely plans to announce how a review on royalty prices will proceed by the end of the summer. The new Alberta Premier said that if the review finds that now is not a good time to raise royalty rates due to low prices, than her party will listen, reports BNN.
Notely said the government doesn’t want to trigger a recession by implementing new policies or budget cuts. Low oil prices and job cuts in Alberta’s most important industry are expected to push Alberta’s economy to decline by 1.5%, according to the Conference Board of Canada.