Yesterday the Alberta government passed Bill 20 – the Climate Leadership Implementation Act – which sets in law Alberta’s carbon tax. After weeks of heated debate in the legislature, the government used its majority to pass the bill, despite failing to answer many critical questions raised in the house regarding implementation.
To be clear, a carbon tax is good public policy, but the government’s plan does not contain critical details on how the money generated from the tax will be used, how progress will be reported, and how government will be held accountable for the billions of dollars in new spending they intend to pursue over the next few years.
This is worrisome, as members of all opposition parties have pointed out, with the Alberta Party’s Leader Greg Clark likening this bill to the public signing a blank cheque to government. Billions of dollars in new spending with no metrics for cost effectiveness, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, or an auditing function.
But there is a better way forward. At Canadians for Clean Prosperity, we believe that any price on carbon should be 100% revenue-neutral, where all of the money collected is returned to taxpayers in the form of credits and tax cuts. That way, we can put a price on something we don’t like – carbon, and use revenue generated from that price to lower taxes on things we do like, income and growth!
Support for revenue-neutrality is now multi-partisan – the Alberta Party, the Progressive Conservatives, and the Wildrose Party all called for amendments to require that all money collected is returned back to taxpayers and job creators, instead of growing government spending. However, the government struck down all proposed revenue-neutrality amendments that would have returned this money to you.
Our modelling presents an alternative, where all the money collected is used to lower other taxes – to make Alberta a more attractive place to invest, despite the carbon tax, and to fully compensate consumers.
We will continue to work for Albertans in advocating for a revenue-neutral carbon tax to create economically and environmentally sound policy with political staying power.