Our op-ed, which first ran in the Edmonton Journal, has also been picked up by the Calgary Herald! Our public services must be protected and revitalized by overhauling our tax system. Learn more about our campaign by visiting www.RevenueReno.ca
"Albertans want to see our public services strengthened, not cut. While the recent budget’s hopes of high levels of resource revenue returning are a better alternative than massive cuts, that path is not sustainable. Resource revenues just don’t exist at the levels they used to. Even in the unlikely event that high resource revenues return for a time, they would be better saved for future generations, rather than spent on our year-to-year operations.
The hopeful news in the budget is that the problem is not our economy — it’s our tax system, which is much easier to fix. The government’s budget documents show that our tax system is grossly inferior to that of every other province in the country at raising revenue. Applying the tax system of any other province to Alberta would raise us a minimum of $11.2 billion in additional annual revenue, more than covering the projected $8.8-billion deficit in this year’s budget.
Protecting our public services from cuts is perhaps the most important reason to fix our tax system, but there are also other good reasons to do so. Universal pharmaceutical coverage becoming part of our public health-care system could happen quite quickly and would actually be a net savings for Albertans through lower drug costs and a healthier population.
Classroom conditions in our schools have been slowly deteriorating, and the provincial budget’s plan to continue on that path is disturbing. Nevertheless, fixing our revenue shortage could change by moving toward reasonable class sizes and better supports for the complex needs of today’s classrooms."