March 02, 2011

Low taxes until oil runs out a bad idea

posted by Diana Gibson

No sales tax until the oil runs out is a very short-sighted approach. Does Minister Snelgrove really believe that Albertans will have money to pay higher taxes when the oil is gone? Before oil was discovered Alberta was dirt poor. And does he really bellieve Alberta will have centuries of this bonanza? What if the US decides it will no longer accept Alberta's tarsands oil? There are strong and growing movements within the US and internationally against tarsands oil. Using resource revenues to fund a low tax regime means incredible volatility and vulnerability for Albertans, and no future beyond oil. Now is when the unprecedented wealth is being generated in Alberta. Now is when Albertans and corporations in Alberta have the capacity to pay taxes - corporate, income and sales taxes. The resource revenues would be much better spent saving and investing in a future for the province beyond fossil fuels, ensuring that Alberta has an economy when the oil runs out. Norway has over $400 billion in its savings fund because it did not throw away those revenues on a low tax and royalty regime. Instead, Norway has kept taxes and royalties high and used its oil revenues to guarantee pension security for all. With the kind of wealth being given away today, Alberta could do this, and make university tuition free, and invest in a world class renewable energy sector. The Tory low tax and royalty agenda is mortgaging my children's future.

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