Alberta Finance Minister Says Legislation Will Re-Index Taxes and Benefits

Alberta’s finance minister says there will be legislation next month to re-index income tax brackets and benefit payments for the elderly and severely disabled.

But Travis Toews says action on the proposed new health spending accounts won’t come until the spring budget.

“There will be a bill that will be introduced at this fall sitting and it will certainly support the commitments we have made to date on re-indexing,” Toews said in an interview Tuesday.

“This will be part of our broader affordability measure. It will consist of a combination of additional tax relief and targeted support for those who are really feeling it right now (due to rising inflation) .

Three years ago, the government de-indexed income tax rates and benefit payments, like its Assured Income for the Severely Disabled, saying they were unaffordable in tough economic times. But he has since announced with the budget once again in surplus that they could be reindexed.

Premier Danielle Smith said a broader inflation-fighting package would be coming soon, promising help with gasoline taxes and electricity bills.

Mr. Toews made the comments after Ms. Smith released a mandate letter outlining her ministry’s goals and priorities.

Letter directs Toews to help implement new measures to help Albertans cope with high inflation while keeping operating expenses at or below the cost of inflation plus population growth .

Mr. Toews is also responsible for making a recommendation for Alberta to go it alone on a provincial pension plan and the creation of an Alberta Revenue Agency to collect all taxes, including income tax. Income.

Toews said work is continuing on both of these files and more information will come to Albertans on the pros and cons of the companies.

“We did the econometric work, the actuarial work,” he said. “We will have a report to present in the next few days, and I think it is extremely important that Albertans understand the opportunities and risks of an Alberta pension plan.”

Ms Smith, during her campaign this summer to become leader of the United Conservative Party and premier, said she wanted to create an Alberta police force to replace the RCMP and create a provincial revenue agency.

She said such autonomous entities are needed to give teeth to her proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act to push back against federal control in provincial affairs.

In a mandate letter sent to Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis last week, Ms Smith ordered him to launch a provincial police force.

NDP opposition finance critic Shannon Phillips said rural Alberta municipalities and Alberta municipalities have rejected the idea of ​​a provincial police force, reflecting the results of public polls.

“Albertans have made it clear that they do not support a pension plan or an Alberta police force. And yet, the UCP continues to push forward with both. In fact, they are willing to gamble Albertans’ pensions to pay for it all. This is catastrophically stupid,” Phillips said in a statement.

“It is not up to Danielle Ms. Smith to decide to gamble on Albertans’ pensions in this way. If she really wants to get ahead, she can run in the next election and let Albertans have their say. Until then, she better not go near anyone’s pension.

Ms Smith has also promised to sue the health-spending accounts. The plan would give each Albertan $300 to spend on therapies, such as naturopathy, mental health counseling, dental care or acupuncture, that aren’t covered by the province.

There would also be tax incentives to encourage businesses and charities to contribute to the accounts.

Mr Toews said his department is still crunching the numbers on this proposal and there won’t be anything concrete until the new year.

“We’ve had high-level discussions, but we have a lot of work to do before we can figure out the cost,” Mr Toews said.

“I expect that to be addressed in the budget, certainly factored into the (February) budget, because we are going to roll out a multi-year budget plan.”

The fall session begins on November 29.

About Michael S. Montanez

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