Lethbridge City Council has passed a motion which aims to have the Alberta government consider a very small provincial sales tax.
The province, of course is the only one in the country, without one.
The idea was put forward by Councillor Jeffery Coffman this week as a means to generate revenue specially for capital projects in cities and towns across the province.
Coffman says a 1% PST would generate billions of dollars.
“Right now the provincial government only has around $1 million for capital projects for all the municipalities in Alberta,” states Coffman. “Even if we generate $3 billion, that’s three times the spending. For us in the City of Lethbridge that would be, instead of $20 million going to capital projects, we would have $60 million to spend on infrastructure projects.”
The PST resolution will now go to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) this September for consideration.
Coffman expects this will certainly generate discussion at the AUMA. “We all recognize the economy in Alberta right now sucks. The natural resource sector is getting absolutely pummelled, and COVID certainly hasn’t helped. All of this eventually trickles down to municipalities because this is where people live. Throughout all of this our citizens still demand clean underground infrastructure, a healthy water treatment plant, roads, sidewalks, etc.”
He notes the idea of a 1% provincial sales tax going to capital projects is meant to provide a revenue resource for municipalities which will help strengthen the province, build the economy, and hopefully keep Alberta in a sustainable environment.
Coffman’s motion was passed in a 7-2 vote with Councillors Blaine Hyggen and Joe Mauro voting against.