Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews made a stop in Lethbridge on Thursday, endorsing his government’s latest budget.
The room was filled with members of the Lethbridge business community, who were hoping to hear some good news from Toews as he gave an update on the state of Alberta’s economy.
“The last three have been about positioning Alberta’s economy for competitiveness, investment attraction, economic growth, diversification, and job creation, which results in expanded fiscal capacity and additional government revenues. It’s about creating opportunities, so budget 2023 continues along that theme,” Toews said.
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According to the finance minister, the financial services sector has exploded in Alberta with $792 million in venture capital investments in 2022. This past January alone, 20,000 jobs were created.
“There’s a lot of things in the budget that helps business get to business, so that’s fantastic for us,” said Cindy Bester, CEO of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.
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Bester is excited to see some Lethbridge-related funding, including in the agriculture sector. A new agri-processing tax credit program will launch in spring 2023.
“It’s really important that everybody in the province understands the strength of our region, that will help future focus and future development dollars in our region specifically,” said Bester.
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When it comes to the wider business community, Bester said it’s too early to know how local entrepreneurs feel about the 2023 budget.
“Our job is to educate businesses on what the budget is, so then they can formulate an educated opinion and then say, ‘Ok this worked great, but we really need to focus on this,’” said Bester.
The overall mood following the meeting is a hope for Alberta’s growth in the future.
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