Carbon tax case study illustrates need for greater taxpayer protections in Alberta
CALGARY, AB: Today, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling for all Alberta political parties to commit to scrapping the carbon tax and expanding the Alberta Taxpayer Protection Act to ensure any new tax or tax increase cannot be implemented without majority-support in a referendum.
“Politicians never bothered to ask Albertans whether they support a carbon tax and there’s been a huge backlash from taxpayers,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the CTF. “Scrapping the carbon tax isn’t enough, the next government needs to make sure politicians can’t take advantage of taxpayers like this again.
“Alberta needs stronger taxpayer-protection legislation.”
The carbon tax was not included in the NDP’s 2015 election platform. In 2016, two-thirds of Albertans opposed the in-coming carbon tax, there was a similar result in a 2017 provincial poll as well as a 2018 poll in reference to a federal tax. Alberta’s case study is a stark contrast to the process in Washington State where voters were able to reject the carbon tax in two consecutive referendums.
The current government was able to impose its tax without a vote because Alberta’s taxpayer protection legislation only requires a referendum before the government introduces a sales tax. Previous Alberta politicians have proposed to strengthen taxpayer protections. In 1997, the Klein government proposed (but never passed) the No Tax Increase Act, which would have required a referendum before tax hikes could occur. In 2018, opposition leader, Jason Kenney, proposed to extend taxpayer protection to guard against carbon tax hikes.
“If ordinary Albertans want more money, we have to convince our boss or customers that we deserve it,” said Terrazzano. “If politicians want more money from Albertans, they should have to ask taxpayers for permission in a referendum.”