March 21, 2017 2:09 pm

Premier Notley says no PST in Alberta without mandate from voters

A file photo of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she wouldn’t bring in a provincial sales tax without seeking a mandate from voters.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said this week his government is considering an increase to consumption taxes as it wrestles with a budget deficit brought on by low resource prices.

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Alberta has some of the same budgetary problems, but Notley says a sales tax is not something that can be pulled out of a back pocket without first campaigning on it.

“An issue like a sales tax is something that, quite frankly, you need to put to the population,” Notley said Tuesday. “You can’t just pull it out of your back pocket without ever giving them any heads up or any opportunity to engage in it.”

READ MORE: Wall tells Saskatchewan residents to brace for tax increases in deficit budget

She says her party campaigned on raising corporate taxes and income taxes on the wealthy and that’s what it did.

She says bringing in a PST in Alberta might be talked about in the next election, but she won’t move on it before that.

“We think that six years to balance, given our overall fiscal fundamentals, is a reasonable way to go,” Notley said. “Taking money out of the economy, when the economy itself is shrinking, actually creates a problem the same way cutting services when the economy is shrinking and people are struggling actually build on the problem.”

READ MORE: Alberta NDP tables fingers-crossed budget, projects $10.3-billion deficit

Alberta is the only province without a sales tax despite repeated suggestions from economists that having one would be the best way to deal with unstable government revenues.

With files from Global News.

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