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Blank-cheque petrochemical corporate welfare program wasteful: Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 09/07/2020

CALGARY, ABThe Canadian Taxpayers Federation criticized the Alberta government for announcing a new petrochemical corporate welfare program that has no cap on program costs.

“We need to get the economy going again, but the answer is not to make struggling taxpayers sign a blank-cheque for another petrochemical corporate welfare program,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “Premier Jason Kenney should stay focused on tax relief instead of risking tax dollars trying to play investment banker.”

The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program has no “hard restriction” on program costs, according to statements made by Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally during today’s press conference. This new program is in addition to the current Petrochemical Diversification Program, which costs taxpayers $1.1 billion.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation obtained a leaked briefing note produced by Treasury Board and Finance officials warning former finance minister Joe Ceci about the risks associated with subsidies for the petrochemical industry, which states: “the proposed incentive program cannot be justified on economic merit alone” and “there is no guarantee that the incentive program will actually lead to additional investment.”

“Lowering business taxes to eight per cent was a much better move because it helps all businesses in all sectors and we desperately need entrepreneurs of every size and shape to create jobs for their neighbours, but the Alberta government is taking a wrong turn when it fires more tax dollars at a handpicked sector based on bureaucratically determined criteria,” said Terrazzano.