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CTF: Alberta budget moves province in right direction

EDMONTON, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the Alberta budget begins to move the province in the right direction after years of overspending and big deficits.

Government spending growth slowed

Balancing the budget and reducing spending to be in line with other provinces of like size were the major recommendations presented by the CTF during the pre-budget consultations. Both of those were achieved in this budget.

“The government deserves credit for beginning to roll back years of government overspending that has wreaked havoc on our province’s finances,” said Kevin Lacey, Alberta Director with the CTF. “Finance Minister Travis Toews is right for signaling government spending will slow to a drip, and the province will finally balance the budget.”

Prior to this budget, government operating spending increased 144 per cent from 2004 to 2018. That’s an increase of about nine per cent a year. This budget shows that from 2018-2019 to 2022-23, spending is up by 3.6 per cent or about 1.2 per cent per year.

Kenney government’s bracket creep tax increase not addressed

Premier Jason Kenney introduced bracket creep in his 2019 budget, despite promising not to raise taxes in the election. Bracket creep happens when governments stop indexing their tax brackets to inflation and taxpayers get bumped into higher tax brackets even though they can’t actually afford to buy more.

The government promised to bring indexing back once the budget was balanced. The CTF wants to see a commitment to start indexing tax brackets again. The government forecasts $200 million more in provincial income taxes this year alone. Yet, it failed to end bracket creep.

“It’s time the government ends this sneaky tax increase,” said Lacey. “The government promised to restore indexation when they balanced the budget. We’ll hold them to that and expect to see bracket creep end in the next budget.”

Overall budget good for taxpayers

Finance Minister Travis Toews’s budget gets a handle on government spending, contains no new major tax increases and provides Albertans with a fiscal plan they can be judged on.

“Taxpayers should welcome this budget which puts Alberta on a sustainable path into the future. It is our hope the government will continue to control spending and end bracket creep in the next budget,” said Lacey.

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