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Expert opposes "hidden and regressive" practice of failing to index tax brackets

October 29, 2019

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is citing analysis by a well-known expert to demonstrate that it’s wrong for the Alberta government to stop indexing income tax brackets to inflation. This method of increasing taxes is often called bracket creep.

“An interim step towards broad applied tax relief would be to end the hidden and regressive tax grab of bracket creep,” wrote Jason Kenney in a newspaper column dated Dec. 10, 1997. “[Bracket creep] pushes middle-income earners into higher and higher tax brackets, as their real incomes remain the same.

“For low and middle income families, bracket creep can suck enough money from the family budget to cause serious financial hardship.”

The Alberta government reintroduced bracket creep to the province in the budget on Oct. 24.

“Alberta will pause the indexation of non-refundable tax credits and tax bracket thresholds,” reads page 149 of Budget 2019. The government estimates this tax hike will cost taxpayers $600 million by the end of 2022.

“Albertans didn’t vote for Kenney to put in a sneaky backdoor tax grab, they voted for him to clean up the fiscal mess without raising taxes,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Kenney should take his own advice and immediately cancel this hidden tax grab.”

Jason Kenney’s 1997 Calgary Herald column, “Spell tax-grab relief by ending bracket creep,” can be found here.

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