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Prentice tax trial balloons damaging business confidence

EDMONTON, AB (February 20, 2015): The relentless series of trial balloons from Premier Jim Prentice on raising job-killing taxes is shaking consumer confidence and hurting small businesses as they deal with low growth forecasts, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

Prentice has talked about raising income taxes, sin taxes, gas taxes, bringing in a sales tax and sugar tax, and now he’s talking about a new health tax.

After actively floating the idea of his new health tax, Prentice fumbled back and forth on Thursday, suggesting this may not happen. Wildrose Finance Critic Drew Barnes said Prentice’s wobbling is hurting the bottom line for Alberta families and shaking the confidence of job creators across the province. 

“The surplus of hot air coming out of Premier Prentice’s office in Edmonton is doing nothing to help our small business people plan and invest in these tough economic times. In fact, it’s hindering them,” Barnes said. “First it was the Premier’s talk of implementing a PST that was hurting confidence. Now, it’s his talk of reintroducing health care premiums that would set the stage for disaster for many small businesses. The Premier’s political head games are hurting our economy and they must stop.”  

A recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business report revealed how small business confidence in Alberta has plummeted from first to worst, under the PC government. 

Wildrose Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Critic Rick Strankman said the Wildrose is committed to keeping taxes low, reducing obstacles to growth for businesses, and shrinking the size of government spending on things such as top-level management salaries and severances, corporate welfare and MLA pay and perks.

“This Premier is thinking up any scheme he can to make ordinary Albertans pay for the mistakes of the PC party, and that just won’t fly,” Strankman said. “His stable full of trial balloons is damaging the economy. We need real leadership in Edmonton if we’re going to turn the economy around and make this a place to invest again.”