Could Sales Tax Solve Revenue Woes in Alberta, Canada?
- Jan 19, 2015 | Gail Cole
Falling fuel prices may be celebrated by happy drivers at the pump, but they have a sobering side-effect. Lower fuel prices mean less revenue for many parts of the world. Places like Alberta, Canada.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice has admitted that it may be time to consider what a sales tax could do for the province. He said that while he was “enormously confident about the future” of Alberta, “We haven’t seen the bottom yet [for oil prices] and this has opened up an enormous revenue shortfall in terms of the Alberta government’s budget” (WSJ). Alberta is expected to have a $500 million deficit by the end of 2015.
Alberta has been accused of prideful boasting about not having a provincial sales tax. Now sales tax is on the table, a topic open for exploration. Said Prentice, “I don’t think Albertans generally advocate a sales tax, but I’m prepared to be educated and to hear from people.” He is interested in learning what the people of Alberta will say about sales tax.
While this is definitely a new attitude for the premier, it is not exactly an endorsement of sales tax. He also said, “I’m not embracing sales tax. Let’s be clear.”
Gas tax could also help the struggling Alberta economy, said ATB Financial Chief Economist Todd Hirsh. With gas prices low—72 and 79 cents in Edmonton—it may be more easily embraced than a sales tax.
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