Thursday, March 08, 2012

Extra! Extra! No New Taxes!

With an election call expected within weeks, the Alberta PCs are blanketing the airwaves with advertising touting their pledge to not raise taxes. Well, let me rephrase that - the Alberta government is blanketing the airwaves with advertising touting their plan to not raise taxes:

The Redford government is under attack from opposition members over spending more than $1.3 million of taxpayers' money on advertising campaigns - including $425,000 promoting the 2012 budget - just weeks before an election call.

Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier charged Tuesday that many of the advertisements constitute blatant political electioneering that should be paid for by the Progressive Conservative party rather than taxpayers.

Boutilier drew attention to a new campaign to assure Albertans there are no new taxes coming this year.

"This government ad isn't about a new program or project," Boutilier told the legislature. "It's not a public service announcement. It's a purely political ad using Albertans' hard-earned tax dollars."

He said the campaign contains lines like: "No new taxes means you can keep spending money on things that matter to you."

This, of course, isn't new. Governments of all political stripes do this (case in point). There's nothing wrong with informing citizens about new services or tax credits - this is often essential to make sure programs are taken advantage of.

But informing people their taxes aren't going up? That borders on absurd.

I look forward to future government funded ad campaigns entitled "we haven't blown up any hospitals in over a decade" and "hey, just letting you know we'd be against a new NEP program if anyone tried to bring it in".