Alberta’s Opposition NDP is calling on the UCP government to release analysis that backs up what the NDP calls $4.7 billion in corporate giveaways.
In a morning news conference, NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips said the government has mostly ignored her party’s requests to see data justifying expedited approval of legislation that would give corporations billions of dollars in tax breaks.
“For months we have been asking on behalf of Albertans for the government to release the analysis they used to justify this decision to hit the accelerator on this policy,” said Phillips.
“We’ve only gotten radio silence from the premiere and the finance minister,” she said.
The Alberta government promised its job creation plan introduced in the latest provincial budget, would improve employment rates.
If passed, Bill 3 would make Alberta’s corporate tax rate the lowest in Canada at eight per cent.
Phillips said her party made Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) requests for fiscal analysis from the treasury board and finance department on corporate tax breaks given between January and June of 2020.
“What we got was four blank pages,” said Phillips. “There’s been no analysis, nothing.”
Phillips told media that she believes the UCP government’s job creation plan is a failure.
“In my opinion, the UCP government has two choices here,” said Phillips.
“They can release the analysis created by the public service used to justify this failed policy,” she said. “Or they can admit that the plan doesn’t have a shred of credible evidence to back it up and they can admit that they need to undertake a new plan that puts Albertans to work.”
In a written statement to CTV News Edmonton, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Travis Toews said: “The Job Creation Tax Cut was a clear platform commitment and we are delivering on that. At a time when our province has been hit by a triple black swan event, Alberta’s government is focused on drawing back job-creating investment and supporting pro-growth policies for Albertans.”
“The NDP's response to an economic crisis is an immediate 50% tax hike on job-creators – we disagree,” the statement went on to say. “The fake outrage regarding the redacted documents is just that – fake. In her media availability, MLA Phillips admitted that the redactions were for Cabinet confidences, which were applied just the same under the NDP government.”