November 2, 2023 - Toronto, Ontario- Mortgage Professionals Canada
The Lieutenant Governor’s speech laid out the Alberta government’s goals and priorities for the new legislative session. This being the first since Premier Danielle Smith and the United Conservative Party's victory in May’s election, it conveyed a strong message to both Albertans and Ottawa.
The Speech included tangible measures to address the cost of living. This includes the creation of a new eight percent tax bracket for residents earning less than $60,000 annually and an extension of tax breaks on fuel until the end of 2023.
In response to the throne speech, Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley called on the government to address issues such as high auto insurance rates, electricity costs, tuition rates, and the shortage of housing in the province.
To alleviate the tax burden on Albertans, the government is introducing the Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act. This will make sure that any new taxes or tax increases in the province must receive approval through a referendum by Albertans. Additionally, a new 8% tax bracket for incomes under $60,000 will put up to $750 annually back in Albertans pockets. The government is also extending the fuel tax pause legislatively until December 31, 2023, and making the fuel tax relief program permanent to shield Albertans during times of high oil prices.
The Speech also outlined the government’s recommitment to strengthening Alberta’s housing system. Stronger Foundations, Alberta's 10-year plan, enhances and broadens affordable housing while establishing a sustainable, equitable, and flexible housing system for the long term. It envisions necessary adjustments to offer safe, affordable housing for an additional 25,000 households, increasing the total served to 82,000, a growth of over 40%.
Moreover, the housing plan will support an additional 12,000 more low-income households with rent assistance and construct 25,000 new units by 2031 through a $9 billion investment in housing. The Province also communicated its commitment to collaborating with municipalities to boost private construction.
Key Takeaways around Housing, Infrastructure, and Affordability:
- An attainable housing strategy, including expanding rent supplements and building new housing units.
- Addressing rising costs for rents, mortgages, food, fuel, electricity, and insurance premiums.
- Growth pressures due to rapid population growth, necessitating infrastructure improvements and recreational opportunities.
- Infrastructure development, expanding transportation networks and commuter rail links.
- Lower taxes and introducing the Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act to require approval for new taxes or tax increases through referendums.
- Addressing electricity costs, incentivizing carbon capture and storage, and moving toward a carbon-neutral electrical grid.
- Economic diversification, including regulating natural resource development and promoting emerging industries.
- Fiscal responsibility, with a commitment to balancing the budget, limiting spending increases, and paying down debt.
Read the full Throne Speech here:
Watch the full Throne Speech here: https://assemblyonline.assembly.ab.ca/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20200317/-1/17520
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