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SPECIAL: Northern Exposure



Welcome to a special edition of the Cross Border Interviews. I am your host Chris Brown.


Today, we have gathered a panel of guests to discuss a recent announcement from the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA).


On March 7th, RMA announced that rural municipalities within Alberta, are currently dealing with an overall unpaid oil and gas property tax burden of $268.5 million. This is a staggering number which has increased each year since the organization began collecting data in 2019.


In fact, this represents a 231.5% increase from the RMA’s first members survey in 2019.


To break that down even further in 2018 the RMA found that $81 million was owed in property taxes from oil and gas companies. In 2019 that number ballooned to $173 million owed, and the next year, 2020, $245 million was owed.


Over the last two years, that number also increased, Rural Municipalities faced an additional $9 million in unpaid oil and gas property taxes, and in 2022 it increased again by $15 million. Totalling $268.5 Million in unpaid oil and gas property taxes.


According to the most recent RMA member survey, the average rural municipality is facing an average unpaid tax burden of $3.8 Million from the oil and gas industry. This is a huge burden for small rural municipalities that are already struggling to make ends meet.


Staggeringly, Seven municipalities have unpaid tax burdens above $10 million from the oil and gas industry. This is an incredible amount of money that these municipalities are owed, and it is causing significant financial strain.


On the other hand, two municipalities have no unpaid tax burden from the oil and gas industry, and an additional seven municipalities have an unpaid tax burden below $100,000. This disparity highlights the need for a more equitable system of tax collection and payment.


It is worth noting that municipalities have written off nearly $132 million in unpaid taxes since 2015. This means that municipalities consider these taxes uncollectible, and they will never recover this lost revenue. This is a staggering amount of money that could have been used for essential services and infrastructure projects.


Still-operating companies are responsible for 41% of unpaid taxes from the oil and gas industry. This highlights the need for these companies to fulfill their obligations to the communities in which they operate.


Despite these challenges, RMA members have tax repayment agreements in place with the industry for an additional $45 million in unpaid taxes. This amount is not reflected in the $268.5 million overall unpaid property tax burden.


Guests include: Woodlands County Reeve John Burrows, Northern Sunrise County Reeve Corinna Williams, and County of Stettler Reeve Larry Clarke


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The Cross Border Interview Podcast was Produced and Edited by Miranda, Brown & Associates Inc

© 2023





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