The Government of Alberta has implemented changes to make our job creators more competitive—but there is one more change they are considering that would make a big difference – bringing fairness to municipal taxation.
Alberta’s assessment framework hasn’t been updated in nearly two decades and is in dire need of modernization. This has created a disconnect in the real and assessed value of oil and gas properties and an unsustainable property tax burden:
- Older wells and pipelines get assessed as if they are new.
- A comparable gas well in Alberta is assessed over 20 times higher than it would be in B.C.
So while natural gas and oil reserves have declined and the value of company assets has decreased significantly over the past decade, taxes levied on these companies have continued to increase.
This disconnect is already having real impacts on industry’s ability to protect jobs in Alberta. Oil and natural gas companies are going under, properties are being shut in or abandoned, and companies are pointing to high property tax costs as a cause.
Right now, the provincial government is considering changes to address this issue. The updates they are considering will modernize the framework, make assessments more closely reflect the value of real property, and make taxes more competitive with other provinces. These updates would help our oil and natural gas industry protect and create jobs.
As Alberta’s largest employer, our oil and natural gas industry understands the responsibility it has to Albertans to provide royalties and create tax revenues. It’s how we pay for our valued public services like schools, hospitals, and highways.
But if our economy is going to recover so our province can create jobs, and keep generating that vital tax revenue, we need a competitive environment for our energy industry. Modernizing our property tax system is critical to creating that environment.
This isn’t about a tax grab by municipalities or a tax break for oil and gas. It’s about creating a sustainable property tax framework that is fair and transparent, so our industry can be competitive and generate revenues for all levels of government well into the future. Most importantly, it’s how we can protect and create jobs.
Let the government know you support protecting jobs, and that you support municipal taxation reforms today by sending a letter to Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Energy, Sonya Savage, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Kaycee Madu, as well as your local MLA. Once you submit the letter, follow up with a phone call to have an even bigger impact. It only takes a minute and your call could be the difference.
- While the value of natural gas and oil reserves and company assets has decreased significantly over the past decade, taxes levied on these companies have continued to increase.
- Between 2008 and 2018, revenues collected from municipal property taxes nearly doubled from $3.8 billion to $7.4 billion.
- During this same period, oil and gas enterprise value has fallen from a high of $380 billion in 2008 to $117 billion in 2020. And the value of oil and gas assets fell 70 per cent.
- The Blue Ribbon Panel showed that between 2007/08 and 2017/18, provincial revenues per capita have increased by 2 per cent. Over the same time period, municipalities have experienced significant revenue growth of 48 per cent per person and continue to have the second-highest per capita expenses in the country.