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Alberta Government Commits To 'No PST'

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

18 November 2011

While there will be no provincial sales tax (PST) introduced in Alberta, the government will consider spending its money more efficiently to ensure the better delivery of healthcare and education, the Finance Minister has said.

Ron Liepert clarified the government's position in response to a question from a member of the audience at the recent Edmonton Economic Development Outlook conference. He said that the Premier, Deputy Premier and all of his colleagues are committed to preserving Alberta’s “NO PST” status.

Liepert added that the issue of sales tax in Alberta has been raised at several of the government's round table discussions, held earlier this month, and that "it was a conversation Albertans needed to have sooner or later". He clarified that the conversation required was about taxation in general, with round table participants keen to know how the province would pay for increasing costs of health care and education.

During these round tables, many participants questioned why the government eliminated health care premiums and asked that they be re-instated or another dedicated funding option be considered. In particular, it was suggested that the administration consider a modest increase in personal income tax to help offset health care costs.

In addition to the roundtables, a series of online surveys have shown that taxpayers see spending in areas such as health and education as their highest priority, with balancing the budget second. Spending in these two areas now consumes close to 65% of the provincial budget.

Liepert concluded: "Round table participants are asking government to spend wisely and be more efficient including the delivery of healthcare and education. It will be these ideas that will be considered by the Alberta government caucus over the coming months, not a sales tax.”

TAGS: tax | economics | sales tax | fiscal policy | budget | health care | education | Canada | individual income tax

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