609 pages: What Tax Hikes are the NDP Hiding?

April 9, 2019

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609 pages could detail how the NDP plan to fill their $8.6 billion platform hole

CALGARY, AB (April 9, 2019) – The Government of Alberta has 609 pages of redacted records detailing proposed tax hikes that the NDP refuses to release. This follows the NDP election platform released last week that contains an $8.6 billion hole (see Backgrounder).

“That’s 609 pages of the NDP Government discussing potential tax hikes that they’re keeping from Albertans,” said Ric McIver, United Conservative candidate for Calgary-Hays. “We know the NDP hid the carbon tax in the last election and then imposed it on Albertans – what are they hiding from us now?”

We know that the NDP’s ‘path to balance’ plan isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on (here and here). Independently, both the Conference Board of Canada and DBRS have said the NDP plan lacks all credibility.

Earlier this year, the Government of Alberta was asked for all records about plans for new revenue sources over the next four years:

“Briefing notes, memoranda, reports, studies, correspondence, PowerPoint presentations and e­mails prepared by or for the Tax Policy Unit of the Economics and Fiscal Policy Division of Alberta Treasury Board and Finance that speak to new or increased revenue or tax initiatives between 2019/20 and 2023/24.”

While the Government declined to release any record, it did reveal that a whopping 609 pages of records were being withheld.

Since coming to office in 2015, the NDP brought in and/or raised taxes, fees and fines 97 times – including the carbon tax, the largest tax hike in Alberta history, which the NDP never campaigned on. The NDP has already hiked taxes by $3.4 billion since 2015.

“Rachel Notley and the NDP cannot be trusted on taxes. Rachel Notley must come clean on what new tax hikes Albertans will face should the NDP win a second term,” McIver said.

Given the billions of dollars in new spending commitments released by the NDP in this campaign, the NDP will either need to run bigger, longer deficits or raise taxes. Or both.

Click here to see the Freedom of Information request and the Government of Alberta’s response.


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Backgrounder: The $8.6 billion hole in the NDP platform

Between 2015 and 2016, the NDP promised to balance the budget multiple times, first in 2017/18, then in 2018/19, and then in 2019/20. Now, the NDP are promising to balance the budget by 2023/24.  

Clearly, the NDP have no credibility on balanced budgets.

Albertans do not believe the revenue projections presented by the NDP in their Third Quarter Revised Path to Balance and their 2019 Election Platform, nor do knowledgeable observers, such as the Conference Board of Canada and the Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS).

Given this lack of NDP fiscal credibility, the United Conservative Party (UCP) asked Stokes Economics, a well-respected economic consulting firm, which has previously assisted the Government of Alberta in developing its macroeconomic model of the Alberta economy, to run a baseline revenue scenario for the Province of Alberta between 2019/20 and 2022/23, based on realistic economic and energy price assumptions.

Stokes Economics found the NDP total revenue projections are $379 million too high in 2019/20, $2.9 billion too high in FY 2020/21, $3.7 billion too high in 2021/22 and $1.6 billion too high in FY 2022/23.  

As a result, the accumulated NDP deficits between 2019/20 and 2022/23 are now projected at $31.8 billion over the next four years, some $8.6 billion higher than the $23.2 billion claimed by the NDP in their 2019 Election Platform.

he NDP deficits over the next four years could even be higher than the above estimates as it is not clear whether they incorporate the full cost impacts of nearly $9 billion in new NDP operating and capital; spending promises over the next four years as outlined in their 2019 Election Platform.  

Under a realistic revenue scenario, the NDP debt is now projected to crest at nearly $101 billion by 2022/23, $9 billion higher than the $92 billion claimed by the NDP in their 2019 Election Platform.  And the NDP debt could be even higher than $101 billion once the full cost impacts of the NDP $9 billion in new spending commitments are taken into account.

There is a $8.6 billion fiscal hole in the NDP Election Platform.

The NDP needs to come clean with Albertans on how they will fill the $8.6 billion hole and also pay for their $9 billion in new spending promises.

Will it be taking on more NDP debt?

Will it be further increases to the $50 per tonne NDP carbon tax?

A new personal income tax on middle-income Albertans?

Or will it be an NDP provincial sales tax?


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