News Feed Item

The Fraser Institute: Alberta Government's Finances in Poor Shape Compared to Other Energy-Rich Jurisdictions in North America

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/24/14 -- Despite a wealth of natural resources and booming economy, the Alberta government's finances fall short when compared to other energy-rich North American jurisdictions, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, An Economic and Fiscal Comparison of Alberta and Other North American Energy-Producing Provinces and States, compares Alberta to Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alaska, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota and Colorado.

"Considering the strength of the Alberta economy, most Albertans likely assume that the province's finances are in order, but when compared to other energy-producing provinces and states, Alberta loses its lustre," said Livio Di Matteo, study co-author, Fraser Institute senior fellow and economics professor at Lakehead University.

For example, post-recession, Alberta has struggled to balance its books, despite a strong economy. Of the 10 energy-producing jurisdictions analyzed in the study, Alberta was one of only three to incur a deficit (spending exceeded revenues) in 2011-12, the most recent year of comparable data. Meanwhile, both of Canada's other energy-producing provinces, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, enjoyed surpluses in 2011-12.

Moreover, Alberta's deficit in 2012-13 ballooned from 0.1 per cent of provincial spending to almost seven per cent.

Consequently, continuous deficit spending has drained the province's rainy day funds. Alberta's net assets (total assets minus total liabilities) plummeted from $31.5 billion in 2007-08 to $12.1 billion in 2012-13-a loss of $19.4 billion in just five years. During that same period, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador were able to reduce their debt by $2.2 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively.

And the problem isn't a lack of revenue. Alberta's spending on programs increased by $22.1 billion-more than needed to account for inflation and population growth since 2005-06. Had the government simply maintained spending rates based on inflation and population growth, Alberta would have enjoyed successive balanced budgets.

"Increased government spending-not a dearth of revenues-has saddled Alberta with budgets deficits at a time when most other energy-producing jurisdictions in North America enjoy surpluses," Di Matteo said.

Continuous deficits also deny Albertans tax relief and the fruits of tax reform.

When compared to the U.S. states analyzed in the study, Alberta's tax rates are generally higher and its tax system markedly unique. For example, Alaska, Texas and Wyoming impose no personal income taxes, and Wyoming and Texas also impose no corporate income tax while relying more heavily on consumption taxes such as sales tax.

Finally, the study spotlights a largely ignored weakness in Alberta's economic performance, which could threaten the province's future prosperity. Alberta ranked dead last (among the analysed jurisdictions) for productivity growth over the last decade with an average growth rate of 0.4 per cent compared to an average of 1.6 per cent for the other jurisdictions. North Dakota, which ranked first in productivity growth, recorded an amazing average growth rate of 4.1 per cent.

"Alberta's poor productivity growth should trouble policy-makers since growing productivity is key to increasing incomes and standards of living for Albertans and their families," Di Matteo said.

"Despite its impressive economy, Alberta cannot rest on its laurels and must ensure its future competitive edge by boosting economic productivity, controlling spending, restoring long-term fiscal balance and reforming its tax system," Di Matteo said.

Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

The Fraser Institute - Media Contact
Livio Di Matteo
Senior Fellow
(807) 343-8545
[email protected]

The Fraser Institute - Media Contact
Jason Clemens
Executive Vice-President
(604) 714-4591
[email protected]

The Fraser Institute
Mark Hasiuk
Media Relations Specialist
(604) 688-0221 ext. 517
[email protected]

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
DevOps theory promotes a culture of continuous improvement built on collaboration, empowerment, systems thinking, and feedback loops. But how do you collaborate effectively across the traditional silos? How can you make decisions without system-wide visibility? How can you see the whole system when it is spread across teams and locations? How do you close feedback loops across teams and activities delivering complex multi-tier, cloud, container, serverless, and/or API-based services?
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, discussed how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technologi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...