Calgary

Carbon tax will cost Alberta families $600 a year, taxpayer group claims on billboard

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says a new carbon tax is the last thing Albertans need right now and it has put up a billboard to get that message out.

Province says its rebate program will offset the cost for most families

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation put up a billboard in Calgary as part of its campaign against the provincial carbon tax plan, set to take effect in January. (CBC)

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says a new carbon tax is the last thing Albertans need right now and it has put up a billboard to get that message out.

As part of its Scrap the Tax campaign, the lobby group put up a billboard on 16th Avenue northwest that says the new provincial levy will cost families $600 per year by 2018.

"Really, the carbon tax is taxing the necessities of life," said Paige MacPherson, Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Paige MacPherson, Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, says this is the worst time to introduce a carbon tax in the province. (CBC)

"The fact that Albertans, you know, still have to drive their kids to school, they're going to still have to drive themselves to work, they still have to heat their homes in the winter. They're still going to have to buy groceries."

Rebate program begins when tax takes effect

According to the province, 60 per cent of households in Alberta will receive the full benefit of its carbon tax rebate program, and 66 per cent will receive at least a partial rebate.

Single adults earning below $47,500 will receive a $200 rebate in 2017. That amount decreases as incomes rise — people earning $51,250 or more will receive no rebate.

For families, including couples with no children, the rebate starts at $300 and can go as high as $420 for a couple with four kids or a single parent with five kids.

Families with combined net incomes below $95,000 qualify for the full amount, dropping to zero as household incomes reach $100,000 for a couple, $101,500 for a couple with two kids, and $103,000 for a couple with four kids.

The payments begin on Jan. 1, 2017.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the provinces have until 2018 to adopt a carbon pricing scheme, or the federal government will step in and impose a price for them.

He said the proposed price on carbon dioxide pollution should start at a minimum of $10 a tonne in 2018, rising by $10 each year to $50 a tonne by 2022.      

Alberta is one of four provinces that have already put a plan in place. Rachel Notley's NDP government announced last November that an economy-wide carbon tax of $20 per tonne will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

That price will rise to $30 per tonne on Jan. 1, 2018.

The plan also includes a hard cap 100 megatonnes on GHG emissions from the province's oilsands.

But Notley responded to Trudeau's announcement with an ultimatum, saying until there's approval for a new pipeline to get Alberta crude to tidewater, the province will not support Ottawa's plan for a carbon levy as high as $50 per tonne.

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