Alberta Budget 2015

March 26, 2015 5:39 pm
Updated: April 30, 2015 8:58 pm

Alberta Budget 2015: What will your sins cost you?

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WATCH ABOVE: Albertans will be paying more for cigarettes, booze and gas when the clock strikes midnight. Reid Fiest reports.

EDMONTON – At the stroke of midnight Friday, sin taxes and gas taxes are going up in Alberta.  If you drink, smoke or drive, it’s going to cost you more.

The changes are part of the government’s plan to help pay for its $48.3-billion budget and cover a $5-billion deficit – the biggest in modern Alberta history.

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Albertans will pay $1.5 billion more in taxes and fees this year to help cover the shortfall due mostly to lower oil prices.

Finance Minister Robin Campbell said some of the hikes were overdue.

“A number of the fees we’re looking at increasing haven’t been touched in a very long period of time.”

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2015 winners and losers

So, what will your bad behaviour cost you this year?

Liquor

If you want to save a little money on alcohol, stock up Thursday night. New liquor mark-ups take effect 12:01 a.m. Friday.

You’ll pay 16 cents more for a bottle of wine and 90 cents more for a case of beer.

The province says this increase – the first in 13 years – will generate an additional $75 million.

“I guess some people could be upset that their favourite bottle of wine is a little more, or a six-pack of beer,” said Campbell. “ I don’t know.”

“I don’t indulge so I can’t really say.”

WATCH: The province has increased land title fees and the cost to register a mortgage. Plus, gas, liquor and cigarette taxes all went up last night. Fletcher Kent reports.

Tobacco

The cost of a carton of cigarettes is going up for the first time in six years. As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, taxes on a carton will be $45, up from $40.

If you have a lead foot, take note: fines for traffic offences are going up an average of 35 per cent.

Fines for speeding – which currently range from $57 to $351 – will increase to $78 to $474.

For violations involving emergency vehicles or for speeding through construction zones, you could be hit with a ticket as high as $949. That’s up from a maximum of $703.

These changes will take effect in May.

If you get caught blowing through a red light or stop sign, you’ll pay as much as $388 and $233, respectively.

Above watch: A warning for drivers as traffic fines are set to go up on May 1, as part of the Alberta Budget 2015. Stefan Keyes reports.

Traffic fines

Fuel

For the first time since 1991, Alberta’s fuel tax is going up.

As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, the tax rises four cents to 13 cents a litre.

“It’s been 24 years since this tax was increased. It will still be the lowest in Canada,” said the finance minister.

“When you look at the infrastructure build that we’re going to do for roads and bridges, I think people can feel that their money is being well spent.”

User fees

Daily trial fees for civic matters will cost $250 a day instead of costing nothing. Other court fees are also going up.

It will even cost you more to get married, be born, and die. Licences for all three services are going up by $10.

Click here to read the 2015 Alberta Budget

“We know some Albertans will be critical of these revenue changes,” said Campbell. “However, without these increases, the future of many programs and services was at risk.”

“Our government refuses to deepen our economic problem by cutting severely without the balance of revenue increases.”

Campbell said Albertans will still have a $10.9-billion tax advantage over the next closest Canadian jurisdiction.

“Alberta will continue to have the lowest overall tax load in Canada with no provincial sales tax.”

When asked why the province didn’t touch corporate taxes when 79 per cent of respondents to its budget survey chose that option, Campbell said now was not the right time.

“Things have changed dramatically over the last little while and they continue to change. We’re seeing, every day, companies pulling back on capital projects, we’re seeing more and more layoffs.”

“We’re seeing incomes halved and people still trying to keep their employees working, so it’s just not the time within Alberta right now to be raising corporate taxes.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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