There were two provincial budgets came down yesterday. One budget was not a balanced budget with an historic deficit, more spending, and a rise in taxes pretty well across the board. The other budget came in as balanced and a reduction in taxes. One budget came from Quebec and the other one came from Alberta. Guess which one is which.
The one you would think that was balanced and that reduced taxes would be Alberta but it isn't. It's Quebec. The one with more spending and historic deficit is Alberta. Things have been turned upside down. Here is the highlights of both budgets.
EDMONTON – The province unveiled its 2015-2016 budget Thursday afternoon. Here are some of the highlights:
The bottom lineTotal spending of $48.4 billion on revenue of $43.4 billion for a $5-billion deficit – the largest in Alberta’s history. The deficit will be covered mainly by the province’s contingency fund.
End of the flat taxAlberta will end its 10 per cent flat income-tax rate and phase in two new tax brackets for those making more than $100,000 or $250,000 a year. The change will affect about 330,000 workers.
Individuals making more than $50,000 a year will have to pay a health-care levy, effective July 1. The amount will be tied to income and capped at $1,000 annually. The levy is to be collected through the income-tax system and won’t be paid by employers.
Gasoline taxThe gasoline tax jumps four cents a litre on Friday. The government notes Alberta’s gas tax has not been raised since 1991 and remains the lowest in the country.
Smokes and boozeIt will cost 16 cents more for a bottle of wine and 90 cents more for a case of 12 beers starting Friday. The tax on a carton of cigarettes will go up by $5 to $45.
Tax breaks for the working poorFamilies earning less than $41,220 a year will be eligible for a supplement for each child, to a maximum of $2,750 each year. The government says about 75,000 families will be eligible.
Fees aplentyFees are going up for everything from camping to court filings and marriage certificates. Traffic fines are being boosted by an average of 35 per cent.
Job cuts in governmentThe government plans to shed 2,016 full-time jobs across all departments. Most of those positions are already vacant and will not be filled. About 370 layoffs are expected.
© The Canadian Press, 2015