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Airdrie MLA doesn't do the math with budget

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  |  Posted: Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 11:38 am

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Re: “Local MLA says Province is ‘doubling down on debt,’” March 20

Dear Editor,

Once again Mr. Anderson shows he isn’t doing the math. In his recent criticism of the 2014 Alberta budget he states, “First off, new Albertans don’t bring roads with them, but they do bring their taxes.

“Population growth is not a drain on our finances – it pads our bottom line.” That’s just not true.

Statistics Canada reports a median income for Alberta families of almost $90,000 (2011). Alberta has a flat tax rate of 10 per cent and a basic deduction of $17,282. A family can also deduct the same amount for the spouse or equivalent and small amounts for EI and CPP. If we assume this Alberta family has one income earner, so they pay the maximum taxes, then this family will pay $5,229 of Alberta income tax ($90,000-37711) x 10 per cent.

If our typical family has two parents and a school-age child, Alberta will spend about $5,000 per person on healthcare and social services and about $10,000 per year for education. Our typical family therefore pays a little over $5,000 in taxes and costs the Alberta Government $25,000 each year.

We should stop referring to people as taxpayers in these discussions and call them “expenditures.”

Ontario and Quebec have almost 18 million more “taxpayers” than Alberta yet they have a combined provincial debt of almost $500 million. They do not have a problem with too much revenue from all those additional taxpayers, but a legacy of debt from all those additional “expenditures.” And these are provinces with much higher tax rates than Alberta!

Mr. Anderson, the population growth model that worked to improve economic outcomes prior to the 1970s no longer works. Alberta cannot afford more ‘taxpayers’ even without billions of dollars of infrastructure.

Lastly, Mr. Anderson asks, “Secondly, if we must borrow for projects now to cope with high growth, what’s going to change in the future so we don’t have to borrow?”

It’s too bad he doesn’t give an answer.

John McMurray,

Airdrie


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