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Alberta cuts business tax, boosts infrastructure spending to reboot economy

Last Updated Jun 29, 2020 at 6:23 pm MDT

EDMONTON — Alberta is cutting business taxes and pumping $10 billion into infrastructure projects to springboard its economy out of the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Jason Kenney says the investments will be for roads, health care, schools and in other areas, with expected spinoff benefits to other businesses and the service sector.

Kenney says there will also be incentives for high-tech companies and other sector-specific initiatives.

Kenney cut the corporate income tax rate to 10 per cent from 12 per cent after taking office last year, and that figure was to go down to eight per cent in Jan. 2022 but it will now be done as of Canada Day.

He says extraordinary measures are needed to ensure Alberta rebounds from the double whammy of the pandemic and a global oil price war that has sent unemployment soaring.

“Albertans have an irrepressible, entrepreneurial culture. We are by nature builders, dreamers and doers. Alberta’s recovery plan builds on those and other strengths with timely, targetted investments and bold policy reforms.”

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Rachel Notley quickly rejected the economic plan saying it only helps large corporations.

On Twitter Notley said “First, he gave $4.7 billion handout to big corporations, and Alberta lost 50,000 jobs. Then a pandemic struck and our economic crisis worsened. Kenney’s response? Speed up the rate in which he’s handing out billions to big corporations. Are you kidding me?”

Finance Minister Travis Toews will deliver a detailed economic update in August, but Kenney has already said emergency spending to date on COVID-19 has sent this year’s budget deficit from about $7 billion to $20 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020

The Canadian Press