It’s Time to Make the Alberta Advantage the LawPublished on July 25, 2017
Tax and spend. Spend and tax. It’s getting us nowhere.
For more than a decade, Albertans have been stuck with unimaginative governments embracing outdated economic and fiscal experiments. As a result, we were not prepared for the global recession, we lacked the capacity to adapt to the oil shock, and we are now left with a massive deficit, all-time record debt, and diminished opportunity.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is, as Albertans, we’ve been in this hole before. We know the way out. We know this is not a time for timid or half-hearted approaches. Rather, this is a time for audacious, competent, and driven leadership.
This week, United Liberty and I proposed a new policy designed to restore the Alberta Advantage for the next generation, and make our province a North American leader once again.
We propose to begin this with the Alberta Advantage Tax Guarantee (AATG) Act. The AATG is designed to ensure all Albertans enjoy the lowest provincial tax rates in our country, full stop. Under our proposal, the AATG would make Alberta’s tax advantage the law. If any business or individual tax filer based in Alberta can prove to the Canada Revenue Agency that they would pay lower basic tax rates in any other Canadian jurisdiction, the Treasury would refund the difference.
Obviously, the AATG would nessesite Alberta’s government cutting taxes, rather than issuing thousands of tax refunds.
Under our plan, the AATG Act would be passed in 2019 upon the formation of a United Conservative Party government following the next provincial election, sending a clear message to businesses and potential Alberta workers around the world: Alberta is Open for Business.
This is when the real work begins. In order to meet the AATG’s ambitious goals, our government would be required to completely eliminate Alberta’s small business tax as well as the NDP carbon tax. Our plan would also see a phased in 20 pre cent reduction in the corporate income tax and restoring Alberta’s 10 per cent single-rate flat tax on personal incomes. Some of these changes would be made immediately upon forming government while others would be phased in after the balancing the budget. Taken together, they represent the largest tax cut in Alberta’s history; a real game-changer for our economy. More details on our policy and its fiscal impacts can be found at derekfildebrandt.ca.
Small business owners already pay personal income tax on their earnings, so the small business tax is double taxation. I purpose to eliminate it to bring us in line with Manitoba, which has none. Taken together with a 20 per cent reduction in the corporate tax, we will kickstart economic growth and more meaningful employment for Alberta workers.
As our province claws its way back from the steepest recession since the 1980s, the first duty of policy makers must be to ensure that we don’t slide into a jobless recovery, or relapse into economic decline.
Meanwhile, cutting and simplifying our personal income tax structure will make a real difference for Alberta families and attract the best skilled labour from across Canada. We will also incentivize high-income earners to file their taxes in Alberta, contributing to our ability to deliver quality public services. At the same time, I want our children and our grandchildren to have the freedom to remain here, raise families here, and create opportunity here.
In order to reinvigorate our economy we need to first concentrate on doing what we do best. Nobody does opportunity better than Alberta. For decades, people and businesses from across Canada and around the world chose to come to here - not for corporate welfare or government handouts - but for opportunity.
Today, we are losing good jobs and good companies. Worse yet, we are losing good people.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is we have an ambitious, well designed, and fully costed plan to renew the Alberta Advantage for the next generation.
Derek Fildebrandt is the MLA for Strathmore-Brooks and the founder of United Liberty, an organization dedicated to the unification of Alberta’s conservatives and supporting liberty-conservative policies and candidates.