Diversifying Alberta’s economy is a vital part of securing Alberta’s future economic prosperity and growth. At present, Alberta’s economy remains too dependent on non-renewable resource revenues. Alberta cannot be competitive when it comes to taxes and fees until we get our fiscal house in order, so this policy begins with a fiscal responsibility strategy.
With spending controlled and savings secured, a Wildrose government will be able to implement broad-based tax incentives and reduce needless red-tape to foster economic growth and diversity while ending the current harmful and unfair practice of corporate welfare handouts.
In a global economy, entrepreneurs, businesses and ideas flow to where the best opportunities for success exist. The best minds don’t necessarily work where they graduate as skilled workers are highly mobile and will go wherever the best opportunities arise. A technological breakthrough is often not commercialized where created.
The PC Government recently convened a competitiveness council to determine why the Alberta Advantage is disappearing. The Council concluded what most Albertans already know: over-regulation, out-of-control spending and fiscal mismanagement are the root cause of the problem. Despite the Council’s correct diagnosis, it got the prescription horribly wrong by recommending higher taxes to balance the budget while encouraging the Government to spend non-renewable resource revenues on grants and funding for private businesses and initiatives it feels will help diversify the economy. In effect, the Council recommends institutionalizing the government’s ill-advised role in picking winners and losers in the private economy. This type of strategy has repeatedly failed around the world and it is certainly not the Alberta way.
To strengthen and successfully diversify Alberta’s economy, we must make our province more fiscally attractive to the brightest people, best entrepreneurs and most successful businesses. We can accomplish this by reducing taxes and red tape while maintaining solid core infrastructure and social programs.
SPENDING CONTROL STRATEGY
- Rapidly escalating spending over the last decade means that the government can’t ignore pressure to raise taxes and fees on individuals and businesses
- We’ll keep spending increases below inflation and population, focusing on delivery of core services like health, education, and public safety
- Enact annual program reviews and whistleblower protection to reduce waste
- Allow Heritage fund to grow instead of diverting growth to cover overspending
BROAD-BASED TAX INCENTIVES
- Encourage small and medium business investment and growth by ensuring Alberta is the lowest-taxed jurisdiction in North America
- Stimulate research, investment, and economic activity across all sectors through measures such as accelerated capital cost allowances and flow through shares
- End the current government’s failed strategy of picking winners and losers by handing out corporate welfare grants to hand-picked corporations
CUTTING RED-TAPE AND ELIMINATING REGULATIONS
- CFIB say over-regulation costs Alberta $4B per year. Their 2010 report says Alberta and Manitoba are ranked the lowest among the provinces when it comes to reducing this burden
- According to a Fraser Institute report, a sweet gas well that should take 10 days and $1,000 to get regulatory approval takes almost three years and cost $100,000.
- Actively review and reduce the unnecessary regulatory burdens that compromise the competitiveness of our key industries
- Work with industry to significantly reduce royalties and temporarily ease regulations on pine beetle-damaged timber to encourage harvesting and replanting
- Re-establish a film tax credit in Alberta to compete with other North American jurisdictions and restore Alberta’s film industry
- Promote stay-in-Alberta tourism by introducing an industry-sponsored rewards program for visiting multiple attractions across the province
- Increase the charitable tax credit to be at least as generous as the tax credit for political contributions