The United Conservative government has set its sights on cutting corporate taxes from 12 per cent to eight per cent over the next four years.
Premier Jason Kenney announced the Job Creation Tax Cut Monday, which would give Alberta the lowest tax rate in Canada by 2022.
“The job creation tax cut will start to turn the tide and kickstart Alberta's economy,” he said.
Kenney plans on formalizing Bill 3 in legislature next week. If passed, corporate taxes would drop to 11 per cent on July 1, and drop by one per cent every Jan. 1 until 2022.
According to Kenney, the tax cuts will add 55,000 full-time private sector jobs and grow the economy by $13 billion.
Jennifer McCurdy, president and CEO of the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce, said reducing corporate taxes would benefit the small businesses in St. Albert, even though they won’t be on the receiving end.
“When people are employed and have more income, people are going to be coming into the stores and shopping and going to the restaurants and spending money on fun things, which we haven't seen a lot of in the last few years,” she said.
McCurdy added that lowered taxes would bring more outside investment into Alberta, which would help bolster the economy.
Mark Plamondon, executive director of Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association, said the association has been advocating for a number of changes federally and provincially to help drive more investment to the region. Reducing corporate taxes was one of them.
“(Making) the tax framework more competitive will ultimately flow into investment decisions that are made by corporations when they look at their next capital investment,” he said.
But Marie Renaud, NDP MLA for St. Albert, said the new cuts would only help the wealthy.
“This isn't a small business tax,” she said. “This is large corporations that are going to benefit from this tax cut.”
Renaud said the tax cuts would generate almost $1 billion every year in lost revenue, which would need to be made up in some other way.
Kenny also promised to slash red tape in Alberta by one-third. He said Alberta is currently the most over-regulated economy in the country and the reduction would instead make Alberta the most free and fast moving economy.
In Plamondon’s view, streamlining regulatory processes will help the region promote itself as a welcoming business environment.
“Any focus at all placed on streamlining and making the regulatory framework more efficient, we believe will have a positive impact on investment into the industrial heartland and Alberta in general.”
McCurdy said she would be interested in seeing what red tape the government plans on cutting.
“We do have to be careful. There’s a lot of regulations that are in place for a reason, for safety and making sure things are done right,” she said.