Member of Legislative Assembly Report
By Brian Jean, MLA of Fort McMurray-Conklin
The NDP budget is set to make things worse for people here in Fort McMurray and for Albertans across the province.
It begins with a risky new carbon tax that is set to raise the price at the pumps, the cost to heat your house and make everything else more expensive.
People in Fort McMurray already know the challenges people in the north face with the higher cost of consumer goods, but life is going to become even less affordable once the NDP’s new carbon tax kicks in.
Wildrose estimates the total costs for this new tax for the typical Alberta household to ring in at around $1,000. This includes estimates for the cost of higher power and utilities, groceries, clothes and shelter.
It does not include the likely property tax increases that will come after municipalities are forced to deal with the higher costs that will be a direct result of a new carbon tax. Neither does it include likely fee increases for parents as school boards are forced to up charges on bus and transportation fees for students.
The NDP claim rebates will be available for families, but the fact is less than a quarter of the total revenues generated will go back to Albertans. For those who do qualify, the rebate will only cover the cost of fuel and heating a home, and will not cover higher utility rates and increases to other consumer goods.
To qualify for a rebate you have to make below $51,000 as an individual, or have an average household income below $100,000, with the maximum rebate ringing in between $300 to $500, far short of the $1,000 household cost many families will likely pay.
We believe the NDP government should be honest with Albertans about the full costs of this tax and delay implementing it until they release a full economic impact study about its true price on families.
The NDP’s budget did not just pile on with a new carbon tax, but comes with record spending, $58 billion of debt and $2 billion in annual interest payments. The new target for a balanced budget is over ten years away and the cost to just pay the loans on Alberta’s rapidly growing debt are higher than every other expense in government outside of health, education and social services.
Over the long-term, it means Albertans won’t be able to afford to build new hospitals or schools, or to hire doctors or nurses.
Of course, little more than 24 hours after the budget was released, credit rating agencies already hit the downgrade button on Alberta, a move that will inevitably make the cost to borrow even more expensive.
Wildrose has offered the government ten concrete solutions to reverse these trends and get spending under control. Our recommendations would save taxpayers $2 billion this year alone and start putting Alberta back on a reasonable path to balance.
We also have put together a 12-point Jobs Action Plan that would not only seek to reverse many of the NDP’s harmful policies, but aims to restore the Alberta Advantage and get Albertans working again.
I believe Albertans are looking for a positive alternative than the one the NDP are offering today. I commit to you that over the next three years, we will continue to articulate a new vision for Alberta, one that will once again make our province the envy of the world.
Brian Jean is the Leader for the Official Opposition Party and Member of Legislative for Fort McMurray-Conklin. Jean can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 780-588-7979.