EDMONTON — Highlights of the 2015-16 Alberta budget:
The bottom line: Total spending of $48.4 billion on revenue of $43.4 billion for a $5-billion deficit — the largest in Alberta’s history. The deficit will be covered mainly by the province’s contingency fund.
End of the flat tax: Alberta will end its 10 per cent flat income-tax rate and phase in two new tax brackets for those making more than $100,000 or $250,000 a year. The change will affect about 330,000 workers.
Health levy: Individuals making more than $50,000 a year will have to pay a health-care levy, effective July 1. The amount will be tied to income and capped at $1,000 annually. The levy is to be collected through the income-tax system and won’t be paid by employers.
Gasoline tax: The gasoline tax jumps four cents a litre on Friday. The government notes Alberta’s gas tax has not been raised since 1991 and remains the lowest in the country.
Smokes and booze: It will cost 16 cents more for a bottle of wine and 90 cents more for a case of 12 beers starting Friday. The tax on a carton of cigarettes will go up by $5 to $45.
Tax breaks for the working poor: Families earning less than $41,220 a year will be eligible for a supplement for each child, to a maximum of $2,750 each year. The government says about 75,000 families will be eligible.
Fees aplenty: Fees are going up for everything from camping to court filings and marriage certificates. Traffic fines are being boosted by an average of 35 per cent.
Job cuts in government: The government plans to shed 2,016 full-time jobs across all departments. Most of those positions are already vacant and will not be filled. About 370 layoffs are expected.