Click here to close now.


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

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
This week, the team assembled in NYC for @Cloud Expo 2015 and @ThingsExpo 2015. For the past four years, this has been a must-attend event for MetraTech. We were happy to once again join industry visionaries, colleagues, customers and even competitors to share and explore the ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact our industry. Over the course of the show, we discussed the types of challenges we will collectively need to solve to capitalize on the opportunity IoT presents.
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, al...
Containers are all the rage among developers and web companies, but they also represent two very substantial benefits to larger organizations. First, they have the potential to dramatically accelerate the application lifecycle from software builds and testing to deployment and upgrades. Second they represent the first truly hybrid-approach to consuming infrastructure, allowing organizations to run the same workloads on any cloud, virtual machine or physical server. Together, they represent a ver...
As operational failure becomes more acceptable to discuss within the software industry, the necessity for holding constructive, actionable postmortems increases. But most of what we know about postmortems from "pop culture" isn't actually relevant for the software systems we work on and within. In his session at DevOps Summit, J. Paul Reed will look at postmortem pitfalls, techniques, and tools you'll be able to take back to your own environment so they will be able to lay the foundations for h...
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes ab...
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes –...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data ...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet condit...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
DevOps Summit, taking place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and Javits Center in New York City, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....