OTTAWA—The federal government's planned corporate tax cuts will only exacerbate the existing inequalities in Canada's economy—both between regions and across industries, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
The study, by economist Jim Stanford, analyzes the distribution of corporate profits across Canada’s provinces and across 16 major industries. It finds that the big winners from Conservative corporate tax cuts will be Canada’s oil-producing provinces, and the oil and finance sectors. In contrast, industries and regions which are struggling will receive very little benefit.
"Despite what Finance Minister Flaherty says, corporate tax cuts are an especially uneven policy tool,” Stanford says. “These corporate tax cuts constitute a significant net fiscal shift in favour of Alberta, and away from Ontario and every other non-oil-producing province.”
According to the study, Canada’s three oil-producing provinces, which account for 15% of the population, generate 36% of corporate profits—and can be expected to reap a similarly large share of the benefits of corporate tax reductions. On a per capita basis, companies operating in the oil-producing provinces can be expected to receive three times as much benefit from the tax cuts as companies in the rest of the country.
“Finance Minister Flaherty is 'picking winners’ as surely as any other Finance Minister—including Ontario’s,” says Stanford. “Surprisingly, the ‘winners’ he’s picking are the provinces and industries that are already doing very well indeed.”
The study also questions the economic impact of corporate tax cuts. Despite the dramatic decline in corporate tax rates this decade, business spending on capital equipment and R&D has been remarkably sluggish—even as Canadian companies are enjoying all-time record profits.
“Corporate tax cuts, as expensive as they have been and will continue to be, have had no visible impact on the broad pattern of business investment at all,” Stanford says.
“In addition to asking whether the regional and sectoral impacts of the Harper government’s $15 billion annual corporate tax cuts are fair and acceptable to the majority of Canadians, we should also ask whether they will have any beneficial impact on Canada’s economy at all,” concludes Stanford.
“Picking Winners”: The Distorting Effects of Federal Corporate Tax Cuts is available on the CCPA web site at http://www.policyalternatives.ca
For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, 613-563-1341 x306.