Whatever side of the political fence you find yourself leaning on, the current economic climate may have you asking, “Where’s the Alberta Advantage?”

The Alberta Advantage has traditionally been thought of as our low personal income tax, low corporate tax, and the absence of a sales tax.  With a new tax structure and the introduction of the carbon tax, some Albertans feel like the Alberta Advantage has gone by the wayside.  It’s nice to have a reminder every once in a while that there are still benefits to doing business and living in Alberta:

“With no provincial sales tax, no payroll tax and no health care premiums, Albertans across all income ranges generally pay the lowest overall taxes and carbon charges compared to other provinces. When the full impact of new tax measures and carbon charges announced in Budget 2016 are considered, Alberta’s tax advantage will be at least $7.5 billion.” – Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

$7.5 billion is an encouraging number!  A graph outlining Alberta’s Tax Advantage in more detail can be found at: http://www.finance.alberta.ca/business/tax_rebates/alberta-tax-advantage.html.

Alberta also has tax benefits over the United States.  Albertacanada.com states that, when July 2015 federal and provincial rates were combined, Alberta’s corporate income tax rate was 27% lower than the US combined federal/state rate (based on January 2015 figures relating to the average effective top general state corporate income tax rate).

There is controversy about the government’s figures and statistics, as one could think they are biased towards the political left. The Fraser Institute, on the other hand, has been accused of being biased towards the political right. It is this prominent think-tank that seems to be the source of doubts about the Alberta Advantage.  It is always a good idea to look at any politically charged information with some skepticism.

Aside from any tax benefits, Alberta has the advantage of natural resources.  We have the third largest petroleum reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.  However, oil prices being what they are, it’s a good idea not to forget our rich, black soil.  Albertacanada.com states that Alberta is “one of the world’s most productive agricultural economies, with a total farm area of 50.5 million acres or 20.4 million hectares used for crop and livestock production.”

It’s a hard time for all Albertans, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with negativity.  Let some sun shine in once in a while, though, and try to think of this province of ours in a more positive light.

Pam Steckler
Investment Attraction Officer
Central Alberta: Access Prosperity