The government of Alberta is turning to an online survey for advice in making its budgeting decisions.
“This is your opportunity to tell us what you think. Your input is important to our future as we make some very tough decisions," said Minister of Finance Robin Campbell on Thursday.
The 16-question survey asks Albertans to identify spending reductions and revenue opportunities in the face of an expected $7 billion budgetary shortfall from sagging oil prices.
One group took no time to respond to the province’s cry for help.
Public Interest Alberta, a left-leaning lobby group, released a television commercial Thursday challenging the government not to punish “middle income families.”
It's calling on the province to eliminate the flat tax and raise corporate taxes and characterizes the current taxation system as unfair.
“It is important that Albertans understand how the current tax structure has led to a situation where the province cannot even fulfill its own election promise to fund something so important as full-day kindergarten,” Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta, said in a news release.
Data shows middle-income families in Alberta pay more income tax than in B.C. and Ontario, he said.
“If we don’t challenge the premier to establish a progressive income tax and fair corporate taxes today then in future years we will not be able to invest in important services that matter to Albertans.”
However Campbell, echoing Premier Jim Prentice, said increasing corporate taxes is not an option.
Prentice has also said he isn't planning to introduce a provincial sales tax, nor will he hike oil royalty rates.
Campbell also hinted the government will not pull back on infrastructure spending, pegged at $7.3 billion.
The NDP's Brian Mason said he's seen all this pre-budget posturing before, when Ralph Klein made massive cuts to the public service.
The survey will remain posted here until the end of February.