The first session of Alberta’s 30th legislature is in the books! Putting aside the filibuster and ear plugs, what has our newly elected government accomplished for Alberta’s businesses so far? Well, they wasted no time in putting on their work gloves.
To start, Jason Kenney immediately kept his campaign promise to kill the carbon tax. Bill 1 was brought to legislature and signed into law on June 3 by Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell. The bill officially took effect on June 4. For businesses and taxpayers, this means reversing (with some potential refunds) the largest tax hike in Alberta’s history, lower spending costs and thus free up the business revenue needed to create 6,000 jobs. The bill is also expected to free up $1.4 billion of tax burden, providing up to $4,500 per year for small businesses to reinvest in their companies through jobs and innovation. This will ultimately help support Alberta’s growth.
Bill 3, the Job Creation Tax Cut (also referred to as the Corporate Tax Cut) was passed on June 12 and was brought into effect on July 1 with the intention of lowering the tax burden on businesses in order to allow them to hire more employees and create more jobs. By 2022, the bill will have lowered the corporate tax rate from 12 per cent to 8 per cent, making it the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada and a combined federal-provincial business tax rate that is lower than 44 American states. Competing in the world economy is vital and a hallmark of a free enterprise system.
Bill 4, the Red Tape Reduction Act, which moves to cut red tape by a third to remove unnecessary regulations for businesses, was passed on June 10. The bill aims to rework costly and inefficient regulatory processes to encourage more business investment. It will save businesses time and money by making it less restrictive to invest in new projects. I believe the free enterprise system is best supported by what this government is doing – allowing regulation to be applied with the goal of getting projects moving through as quickly as possible. This will be an ongoing mission to find balance between regulation and obstruction.
Bill 7, the Municipal Government Amendment Act (or the Property Tax Incentive Act), was passed on June 24. The bill moves to allow municipalities to provide 15-year property tax incentives rather than the previous year-to-year incentives. Providing Alberta’s municipalities with one of the longest municipal tax incentive timelines in North America allows Alberta to compete for more business and industry investment, creating a potential for job growth, revitalization, and economic diversification.
One major theme is dominating legislation: improving our Alberta business environment. Reducing financial pressures and regulatory burdens enables Alberta businesses to more freely invest in the province, its communities, and its workforce. This government is committed to assisting businesses in getting our economy back on track. Their first legislative steps are creating a sense of optimism in the corporate community. These initial steps will contribute to these businesses turning optimism into reality.