The Government of Alberta announced its 2018 Budget yesterday. From our perspective, here are three things worth celebrating:
Provincial funding for preventative social services was protected
In 2016, the Government of Alberta boosted funding for preventative social services in communities across the province by $25 million. This was the first significant increase to the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) budget since 2009, and a change that community organizations like Momentum celebrated with enthusiasm. In the current provincial context that has most people’s minds on the deficit, we were happy to see the government maintain this level of support for key community services in Budget 2018.
FCSS funding is an important contributor to the strength and viability of the social service sector. In Calgary, this funding supports programs—designed and delivered by communities—that promote social inclusion and strong neighbourhoods, focus on prevention, and address the root causes of poverty.
The Alberta Investor Tax Credit was extended to 2021 and got a special boost
By creating the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC)—and by extending the tax credit to Community Economic Development Corporations (CEDCs)—the Government of Alberta connected local entrepreneurs to everyday Albertans wanting to invest their money to support local economic development. Momentum was happy to see the tax credit extended in Budget 2018 for an additional three years—until 2021.
The AITC also received a boost in the budget: investors will now receive an additional 5% credit, on top of the 30% they get through the AITC, if they invest in a business that meets diversity and inclusion criteria.
Through the AITC and CEDCs, the Government of Alberta is supporting locally-owned businesses, like social enterprises and co-operatives, to launch and expand. In other provinces, this model has been used to help co-operative coffee roasters, wind farms and other renewable energy projects, and farmer’s markets to achieve success. From our experience as a champion of Community Economic Development, we know that these types of businesses are key job creators, are focused on social impact, and are more likely to pay a living wage.
Momentum looks forward to the CEDC regulations being launched in the next few months.
Families will continue to receive the Alberta Child Benefit
Introduced in 2015, the Alberta Child Benefit has been a game-changer for children living in poverty. The benefit puts money directly in the pockets of families living on lower-incomes, and reaches an estimated 235,000 children living in poverty. Knowing that the Government’s plan for Budget 2018 was to begin cutting spending, we were pleased to see support for this vital poverty reduction tool maintained in Budget 2018.