Why I Couldn't Support the NDP Tax Increase
Posted on June 25, 2015 by Meagan Wade
The following are Greg Clark’s comments from the Alberta Legislature on Bill 2, which would increase corporate taxes 2%.
"Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I believe in a progressive income tax. I also believe that large corporations can and should pay more, and I believe that Albertans are willing to pay fair value for efficient, high-quality public services. That, I think, defines modern Alberta, but we’ve missed the balance here. I believe five brackets of personal income tax are too many. I believe a 50 per cent increase in the top marginal tax rate for individual earners is too high. I think a 2 per cent increase to corporate taxes eliminates Alberta’s low tax advantage and creates a risk of capital flight to other provinces.
The Alberta Party proposed in the provincial election to increase corporate tax 1 per cent, maintaining Alberta’s low tax advantage, the lowest taxed jurisdiction in the country, but generating badly needed revenue. The same with personal income taxes: we believed in raising the top marginal tax rate to 13 per cent across three tax bands. This delivers more revenue, which I do agree is badly needed, but it also creates an incentive and a requirement for the government to exercise fiscal discipline to ensure that the public services that we deliver are in fact delivered efficiently, to ensure that we get more value for the money that we spend on our public services in this province. That’s the balance that I believe has been missing from this discussion.
I also reiterate the argument around integration in the tax system and the fact that we, I believe, inadvertently on the part of the government created what will likely result in tax flight away from the province of Alberta. Those dollars that are badly needed in this province will end up in the treasuries of other provinces. That is a significant risk that this government must understand.
In the end, Madam Speaker, as much as I do understand and agree with the basic principles of progressive taxation ensuring large corporations pay their fair share, I cannot support Bill 2."