On Friday, September 18th, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released a statement calling on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to ensure that any money coming back in equalization payments gets distributed straight to Alberta taxpayers.
"The Alberta government doesn't pay equalization, Alberta taxpayers do," said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director of the CTF. "Any equalization rebate should go back to Albertans who pay the bills, not to provincial government coffers." Franco Terrazzano went on to affirm that "Alberta families and businesses are struggling, and this equalization rebate would go a long way in helping Albertans survive this downturn."
Premier Kenney recently asked the federal government for at least $6 billion through the fiscal stabilization program, more commonly referred to as the equalization rebate. According to the Fair Deal Panel, some estimates say that Alberta has paid $661 billion in equalization payments since 1961.
In the CTF news release, a University of Alberta political scientist, Jared Wesley, provided comment, stating, "It's a big myth that [the] Alberta [government] sends equalization payments to Ottawa." Jared says that "Albertans as individuals and their corporations pay income taxes directly to the federal government, and the federal government then sends some of that money out to other provinces."
In their news release, the CTF called upon the premier to issue the rebate back to the residents and not the government. If this were to work out for Albertans' benefit, it would amount to roughly $1,400 for each person, which would undoubtedly go a very long way, especially now.
Franco Terrazzano concluded that "Kenney is right to try and bring home more of our federal tax dollars, but he needs to make sure that money gets back to the families paid for the province's oversized contribution to the feds." It seems as though the United Conservative government is heading in the right direction and needs to redirect the money to Albertans, who have paid more than they have received for far too long.