Carbon tax could end as early as May 30
Published Wednesday, May 22, 2019 4:30PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:17PM MDT
Albertans have only one more week of the carbon tax if a bill by the United Conservative government is passed.
Following Wednesday’s throne speech, Premier Jason Kenney introduced Bill 1, An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax.
The proposed legislation would undo the former NDP government’s Climate Leadership Act, effectively ending the levy at 12:01 a.m. May 30.
“Promises made, promises kept,” Kenney said in a policy announcement.
“We’re keeping our commitment to eliminate this tax grab to create jobs and put more money back into the pockets of hard-working Albertans.”
Kenney’s Bill 1 would also end the provincial carbon rebate offered to households by amending another piece of legislation, the Alberta Personal Income Tax Act. However, those who received a rebate from April 1 to June 30 would not have to pay it back.
The government estimates scrapping the carbon tax will free up $1.4 billion—up to $1,150 per family and $4,500 per business annually. It is also expecting reverberant benefits to local economies, like 6,000 new jobs throughout Alberta.
The United Conservatives have said killing the carbon tax does not signal a weakening commitment to climate change issues.
In the future, heavy emitters will be subject to a tiered program, though the government has yet to release details about it.
And, Wednesday’s Bill 1 tabling leaves other programs brought in by the NDP government, under the Climate Leadership Plan, in place for the time being.
For example, Energy Efficiency Alberta, the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act, and the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation—all of which motivated reducing emissions—were created under the umbrella Climate Leadership Plan.
The government did not say if those programs, like the carbon-tax funded Energy Efficiency Alberta, would be affected in the future. Instead, it said the programs are under review as part of the budget planning process. The budget is scheduled to be released in the fall.
In the meantime, Bill 1 specifies left-over carbon tax revenue collected until May 30 can be used by the provincial government outside of the criteria listed under the Climate Leadership Act.
Government House Leader Jason Nixon said on Tuesday this will not impede infrastructure projects that were committed funding through the carbon tax.
“As we’ve always said, we don’t need a new tax or a carbon tax to build anything,” Nixon told media. “There are some commitments that have already been made that will be maintained. We’ve been clear that infrastructure projects that have been committed to will continue—whatever stage they’re at.”
In the future, the UCP government says it will focus its climate change efforts by reinvesting heavy emitter revenues into technology that reduces emissions.