Welcome!

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.

Contacts:
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]
www.fraserinstitute.org

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
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
We’ve been doing it for years, decades for some. How many websites have you created accounts on? Your bank, your credit card companies, social media sites, hotels and travel sites, online shopping sites, and that’s just the start. We do it often without even thinking about it, quickly entering our personal information, our data, in a plethora of systems. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the information we are providing. It could be very personal information (think of the security questions you ...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor 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. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems 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. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
DevOps and microservices are permeating software engineering teams broadly, whether these teams are in pure software shops but happen to run a business, such Uber and Airbnb, or in companies that rely heavily on software to run more traditional business, such as financial firms or high-end manufacturers. Microservices and DevOps have created software development and therefore business speed and agility benefits, but they have also created problems; specifically, they have created software sec...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...