Alberta Provincial Budget 2019

Thursday, October 24th 2019 saw the United Conservative Party release the 2019-2023 Alberta budget.

Cuts were made across the board affecting hospitals, students, the disabled, teachers, municipalities, etc.

The local games industry was also affected.

The Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit that was brought in by the previous NDP government has seen success in the roughly one year that it operated. It offered a 25% refundable tax credit for labor costs as well as an additional 5% if under-represented employees were hired. It also made Alberta competitive as other provinces also have IDMTCs: BC (17.5%), MB (35%), NL (40%), NS (50%), ON (35%), PE (25%), and QC (37.5%).

The tax credit was partially or wholly responsible for bringing in Improbable IO (Edmonton) and New World Interactive (Calgary).

It was also being used by many midsized game studios that were created right here in Alberta. Small investments that were being rolled back into the businesses to continue to grow. It was truly a win win (unlike the $233 million Husky acquired from the new Alberta tax cuts which will be used outside of Alberta).

The following tweets summed up everyone’s feelings after the shocking news

The government believes that lowering corproate tax rates from 12% to 8% over 4 years (1% per year) will benefit all business equally, but in reality this will only benefit large companies that have a foothold in Alberta (read: oil companies).

Investment, growth and diversity have all taken a hit with this announcement but we’re confident that we’ll continue to see amazing games and innovation out of our local game developers.

Additional reading:

Craig is the creator of Alberta Makes Games.
He created the Calgary Game Developers meetup group in 2013 and is a director for both Calgary Game Developers Association and Interactive Arts Alberta.

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