Politicians lacking vision (like Mr. Prentice) launch trial balloons left, right and centre in the hope that somewhere along the line they'll get it right. This demonstrates a lack of conviction in the party's platform or a lack of confidence in the government's ability to explain difficult issues to the electorate.
Earn $17,787 in Alberta and you'll pay nothing in provincial income tax. Earn $50,000 and 6.4 per cent of your income is tax ($50,000 minus the $17,787 exemption; the 10 per cent tax is paid on the remaining $32,213). Earn $100,000 and 8.2 per cent of your income is tax. There's a word for such sliding proportions of tax paid: progressive.
Beyond higher taxes or more debt, there has always been another option: prudent spending. However, that is something the Alberta government has been less than adept at in some years. For instance, had the province increased program spending after 2005/06 and to 2012/2013 but only in line with inflation and population growth, it would have spent $22 billion less compared to what it actually sent out the door.