EDMONTON – The Green Party of Alberta is calling on the province to drop planned changes to the assessment of oil and gas infrastructure in rural municipalities. These changes, if implemented, will be devastating to rural residents, communities, and their economies.
Jordan Wilkie, Leader of the Green Party of Alberta, notes that total assessment base loss is estimated to be between 7% – 20%, which will be devastating to rural Albertans. “At stake is the ability of local governments to maintain basic services, farmers to maintain badly-needed food production, small business to keep operating, and residents to hold onto their homes. The unswerving allegiance of the UCP to the fading oil and gas industry over the well-being of our communities is uncalled-for and reckless.”
The Rural Municipalities Association states that, “the average rural municipality will lose over 12% of its revenues in 2021, and 10 municipalities will lose over 20% of their revenues.” In total, rural municipalities could lose a minimum of $109 million and up to $291 million in tax revenue in 2021 – the first year in a planned multi-year reduction of oil and gas tax revenues.
“Who do the UCP and oil and gas companies think provides the maintenance for roads and bridges that they need and use to get their resource to market?” asks Wilkie. In addition to this revenue loss, Alberta municipalities are also invoiced by the provincial government for costs associated with education, seniors’ housing and policing.
In 2017, the NDP government, in effect, gave $50 million dollars from education taxes to municipalities. In so doing, the NDP effectively subsidized the oil and gas companies who were defaulting on paying their municipal taxes. This subsidy has continued through to 2020 with the UCP government.
The Greens are calling for the UCP government to scrap the proposed rural tax assessment changes. For over a century, rural communities, through their municipal counsellors and administrations, and through their organization, The Rural Municipalities Association, have established fair and equitable taxation. This has allowed them to provide the necessary services and atmosphere to create the vibrant 21st-century lifestyle for Albertans that exists now. Don’t upset the balance.
- 30 –
For more information, please contact:
Member, Green Party of Alberta Communications Committee