The Alberta NDP passed carbon tax legislation on Monday, defeating an amendment proposed by the official opposition that would have given a rebate to charities.
The move has Alberta non-profits worried about how they'll cover the additional costs, which could reach tens of thousands of dollars each year.
The Calgary Food Bank is anticipating the move will cost their organization an additional $31,000 per year by 2018, the organization's president told Metro News.
âWe donât have the ability to write-off or to otherwise pay for the taxes. If I were a business, I could pass down some of those costs to my customer, but as a charity I canât," said James McAra, president and CEO, to Metro.
Increased costs coming at a difficult time
Food bank usage in Alberta has surged over the past year, with some organizations seeing an increase in clients as high as 60 per cent.
There could also be increased expenses for transportation, especially for charities like food banks that rely on vehicles for bulk deliveries of food to partner agencies.
The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations also noted its disapproval, saying in a release the organization was disappointed the bill includes no rebates or exemptions for the non-profit sector.
"If I were a business, I could pass down some of those costs to my customer, but as a charity I canât."
The official Opposition Wildrose Party voted against the bill, saying without the amendment protecting charities it would hurt Alberta's most vulnerable.
"All charities in Alberta are about to see a significant rise in their operating costs for fuel, heating, food and travel," said Wildrose MLA Angela Pitt during the debate.
"These rising costs come at a time when charities are already facing a double-edged sword. On the one hand, due to the economic climate and the fact that many Albertans are struggling, charities are seeing an increased demand for their products and services and a decrease in the actual donations that are coming in."
Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips defended the decision in the house, saying that charities should work to "find efficiencies" to make up the lost costs.
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Here are some of the highlights of the Alberta 2016-17 budget. Story here: http://huff.to/1Nr7xhN
Revenue is pegged at $41.4 billion against $51.1 billion in spending. Projected revenue is down, as benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil is expected to average US$42 a barrel. If oil prices drop to $30 a barrel, the government plans to add a $700-million buffer.
Province is amalgamating 26 agencies, boards and commissions to save $33 million. Salaries and supplies for government will be cut by 2 per cent.
The only new tax is a carbon tax, that will cost households earning more than $100,00 a year about $500 annually. The new tax is part of the province's new climate change plan.
The province has created two new tax credits to encourage investment in small- and medium-sized businesses. Small-business tax will be cut to two per cent.
The government says its spending on employment incentives and capital will create about 100,000 jobs in Alberta over the next three years.