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Economy

Six charts that explain the Alberta budget

Alberta will face a decade of deficits according to a budget released by the NDP government Thursday. Here's a look at some of the key numbers

The looming deficit

The 2016-2017 deficit is expected to be $10.42-billion. It will total $10.13-billion the following year, and $8.35-billion the year after that. The government did not provide further projections, but Finance Minister Joe Ceci says he doesn’t expect the province to run a surplus before 2024. The province last balanced the books in its 2014 budget.


Carbon taxes

An economy-wide carbon tax will come into effect in 2017 and raise $2.4-billion annually when fully implemented. Revenues are then expected to slowly decline in following years as Albertans emit less carbon.

The government will provide non-taxable rebates to help Albertans adjust to additional costs tied to carbon levies, such as fuel taxes (outlined below). The refunds will be adjusted based on household income and children. Single adults, depending on income, are eligible to receive up to $200 per year, $100 for a spouse, and $30 for each child under 18 to a maximum of four. The net income "phase-out" threshold begins at $95,000 for families and $47,500 for single adults.

Gas prices on the rise

Fuel taxes will rise for the third time in three budgets starting on Jan. 1, 2017:

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  • Gasoline will climb 4.49 cents per litre on top of the current 13 cents per litre
  • Diesel will climb 5.35 cents per litre on top of the current 13 cents per litre
  • Natural gas will climb $1.011 per gigajoule
  • Propane will climb 3.08 cents per litre on top of the current 9.4 cents per litre
  • Additional taxes will be applied to other fuels

These taxes will rise again on Jan. 1, 2018, on top of the 2017 increase:

  • Gasoline will rise 2.24 cents per litre
  • Diesel will rise 2.68 cents per litre
  • Natural gas will rise $0.506 per gigajoule
  • Propane will rise 0.54 cents per litre
  • Additional taxes will be applied to other fuels


Jobs relief

The budget contains a $250-million plan designed to create 100,000 jobs over three years. It includes:

  • $165-million in tax credits to encourage investors to support small and medium-sized companies
  • $25-million for the Alberta Enterprise Corp. to spend in an effort to “spur innovation, growth and employment in areas such as clean technology.”
  • $25-million for apprenticeship and training programs
  • $35-million “to attract and support new businesses to pursue regional economic development initiatives.”

Small business

The NDP will reduce taxes on small business to 2 per cent from 3 per cent.


MORE READING

Gary Mason: Keeping quiet on carbon tax impact? Wrong, and ridiculous When one of the policy centrepieces of your government is a controversial price on carbon, there is an onus to justify its existence. Particularly, when a government is introducing the tax at a time when the provincial economy is completely in the tank
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