Suspend tax and wage hikes, Alberta industry groups urge premier
'Ambitious government policies ... have further undermined business confidence and competitiveness'
A group of organizations representing industry and businesses in Alberta has sent an open letter to Premier Rachel Notley expressing concern over new taxes and minimum wage increases.
The letter says in the face of a "dire economic situation impacting all Albertans," certain NDP policies are making things even more difficult for business in the province.
The group cites "recent government policies such as the carbon tax, corporate and personal tax increases and changes to the minimum wage as having further undermined business confidence and competitiveness in Alberta during one of the worst economic downturns in a generation."
The group is an alliance of 15 industry associations including those representing manufacturers, drillers, road builders, home builders, restaurants and retailers amongst others.
"Essentially what this boils down to is jobs," said David MacLean with Alberta Enterprise Group, one of the associations.
"We've seen the Alberta government come forward with a variety of policies that undeniably have made Alberta a tougher place to do business."
The group says it is looking for a moratorium on additional tax increases, a delay in the next minimum wage hike, and a commitment to making the incoming carbon tax revenue neutral for business.
It is also asking for the government to release details about its job creation strategy.
"We acknowledge that this downturn is beyond any government's control," the letter states.
"However, we have also seen the rapid deployment of a series of ambitious government policies that have further undermined business confidence and competitiveness."
Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the budget on April 14 will focus on the economy and job creation.
"There will be no major fiscal revenues, levers, pushed, pulled in this Budget 2016," he said. "So the things they've asked for I've already told them about, and we believe that the steps we're taking will grow jobs and help our economy down the road."
Ceci said the carbon tax will be recycled "100 per cent back into the economy."
In the letter, the group asks to meet with the premier and her cabinet.
MacLean said the government acknowledged receiving the letter and said it was open to talking.