30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1704
Thursday, June 04, 2015
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7
PST or PCT, is that the question?
Just a couple of months ago, Finance Minister Robin Campbell mused (James Wood,
Calgary Herald, March 30) that a 5% provincial sales tax (PST) would raise about
$5 billion and would resolve the $5 billion budget deficit brought on by reduced
oil revenues. He thought there was no public appetite for such a tax.
Now, we have Environment Minister Shannon Philips vowing (Darcy Henton, Calgary
Herald, June 1) to implement a new climate change plan and strategy by the end
Some industry representatives and environmental groups are urging a broad based
provincial carbon tax (PCT) be established. The tax suggested by many is $30 per
tonne of carbon dioxide emission to match the BC carbon tax. Since Albertaís
annual emissions are about 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide the tax revenue
works out to $7.5 billion per year. (Iím sure Premier Notley and Minister
Phillips can do the math too.)
That could take care of the current deficit and help establish a long term
source of funding to ride out the ups and downs of our resource industry -
provided the take is not squandered on additional unproven and ineffective
climate change action.
How much would such a tax cost individual Albertans? Our household greenhouse
gas emission records suggest we would pay an extra $900 annually in carbon tax
for motor vehicle fuel, natural gas and electricity. There will also be
additional production and transportation costs passed on to us on everything
else we purchase as our suppliers will also be taxed. Hopefully this portion
will be small as many of our purchases are imported from jurisdictions which do
not currently impose carbon taxes.
World governments and the United Nations have been striving to come up with a
strategy and plan to fight the ever more elusive greenhouse gas emission enemy
for 30 years now without success. It will be fascinating to see how the Notley
Government deals with this and the risks of taxing Albertans this month.