UCP leader Danielle Smith officially kicked off her party’s provincial election campaign Monday morning in the southeast Calgary community of Auburn Bay with affordability being the main theme.

This story also appeared in LiveWire Calgary

Just prior, the province announced that the 30th Legislature of Alberta was to be dissolved and a general election to be held May 29, 2023.

Smith announced a new eight per cent tax bracket on people whose income is under $60,000.

Smith said every Albertan earning over $60,000 could save $760 annually, and those earning less than $60,000 would see a 20 percent reduction to their provincial tax under the proposed plan.

“It will result in real and significant savings that can be put towards housing, life’s other necessities, planning for the future, or whatever else is a priority for you,” Smith said.

“After all, it’s your money, you earned it.”

The UCP also plans to continue the temporary freeze of the provincial fuel tax, which on average saves Albertans $10 per fuel up. This is all part a plan to not only keep people in Alberta, but also attract new people to the province through stable living conditions, Smith said.

Smith also reiterated that the UCP will uphold the high principles of Canadian healthcare (which includes not paying to see a doctor)

New Democrat Leader Rachel Notley is expected to launch her campaign in Calgary today as well.  It’s projected that a strong showing in Calgary could be the main key to victory for either party.

How the UCP intends to pay for the tax cut

When asked about how the province would pay for the proposed tax cut, Smith said that they would expect it to pay for itself with additional economic growth.

Smith used Rachel Notley’s tax hike from 10 per cent to 12 per cent as an example.

This hike saw years of declining corporate tax revenue, while the UCP reduction from 10 per cent to eight per cent resulted in $6.4 billion in corporate tax revenue.

Read LiveWire’s coverage of the NDP campaign launch

“I would anticipate the same thing would happen in this case that putting more money in the hands of individuals allows them with more of their own money to spend on the things they care about,” Smith said.

A reduction to eight per cent would also put Alberta in line with British Columbia and Ontario, according to Smith. In BC, the lowest tax bracket is 5.06 per cent, while the rate for $43,070 to $86,141 is 7.70 per cent. Ontario’s lower bracket is similar to BC, however from $46,226 to $92,454 is 9.15 per cent.

Currently in Alberta, if you make over $19,369, you are taxed at a 10 per cent rate.

According to the Alberta Government’s website, the median annual family income in Calgary is $118,000. Information in a Calgary Economic Development presentation showed a 2021 projected personal income per capita in Calgary of $60,251.

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