The real costs and benefits of ending poverty in Edmonton by paying a living wage

Net benefits of paying a $15 living wage in Edmonton
I have the pleasure of serving on the End Poverty Task Force for the Mayor of the City of Edmonton. I completed the following preliminary analysis to the key question: what are the real costs (and benefits) of ending poverty by paying a living wage to those employable Edmonton adults currently working or living below a $15.00 per hour living wage (or what I would call the ‘poor’)?

Caveat: My  analysis should be treated with caution as these are rough and preliminary estimates of a complex subject area.

I ran some preliminary estimates of the estimated full societal net costs of eliminating poverty (if the goal of ‘elimination’ is measured by ‘having enough money to afford basic necessities of life (including shelter, food, transportation)’, which could be defined in terms of ensuring the estimated 100,870 Edmontonians living at or below LIM (Low Income Measure) plus the estimated 103,200 working adults (20 years+) who are earning less than a $15.00/hour living wage.

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What I would advise Premier Rachel Notley on Monday

Some economic advice for Premier-designate Rachel Notley

Take a balance sheet approach to managing Alberta’s assets

By Mark Anielski
Genuine Wealth Institute

EDMONTON, May 11, 2015/ Troy Media/ – If I were sitting with Premier-designate Rachel Notley this morning advising her on the economy and the next budget, I would first recommend that she base her decisions on historical evidence.

But to accomplish this, she must start by gathering the facts.

Notley would have to first start with a comprehensive audit of the long-term sustainability of the provinces natural assets (oil, gas, minerals, timber, agricultural land). The audit would examine the reserves and the remaining years of production of oil, gas, coal and other minerals that remain in the ground.

Alberta’s oil sands reserves contain roughly 168 billion barrels that would be valued at $8.2 trillion based on a conservative US$50 per barrel of oil. At 2013 rates of oil production (2.1 million barrels per day) Alberta’s oil sands should last 215 years.

Second, Notley needs to take a lesson from former Premier Peter Lougheed, who was able to negotiate a higher economic return on oil and gas sales from Alberta’s energy industry. The oil sector currently pays less than a dime on the dollar in royalty payments, whereas during the Lougheed era it paid an average 27 cents and as high as 37.7 cents in 1977.Based on current oil prices at or below $50/bbl the projected royalty payments for 2015 are expected to reach their lowest level in 55 years at below $0.05 per dollar of oil and gas sale. If Notley were able to increase the royalty rate as a percentage of the value of oil and gas sales to 20 cents, still less than during the Lougheed era, our schools and healthcare system could be properly funded without a sales tax, an increase in healthcare premiums or even an increase in corporate taxes.

Alberta royalties 1970-2015

Third, Notley needs to conduct an assessment of the renewable energy capacity available for development, including solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, and other renewable energy options. Alberta has an abundance of sunshine, yet we have the lowest installed solar PV capacity in Canada. Why not consider creating the conditions for a flourishing renewable sector that is as healthy as our petroleum sector?

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Albertans and Edmontonians could be happier: Alberta needs a New Economic Vision based on Well-being

This article was originally published on April 26, 2015

It’s no fun being an Albertan: Alberta needs a New Economic Vision based on Well-being

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta ranks 7th overall in life satisfaction in 2013 with PEI and Saskatchewan ranking No. 1 and No. 2. Edmonton ranked 30th and Calgary 23rd amongst 33 Canadian cities in terms of life satisfaction, in the most recent survey of Canadians happiness. Continue reading

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Well-being impact investing: the dawn of a new era

February 21, 2015 by Mark Anielski

Published on

Impact investing the dawn of a new era | Troy Media

Well-being investment image

According to January 27, 2015 column in the New York Times by columnist David Brooks a new era is dawning in the investment world, which has been termed ‘impact investing.’ According to Brooks “Impact investors seek out companies that are intentionally designed both to make a profit and provide a measurable and accountable social good. Impact funds are frequently willing to accept lower financial returns for the sake of doing good — say a 7 percent annual return compared with an 11 percent return.”

I believe there are an increasing number of investors, like myself, who are interested in investing their after-tax dollars in investments that will generate a reasonable financial return while also contributing to a net positive impact on the well-being on the community in which a business operates and on the environment.

I might call this new form of investment, ‘Well-being Impact Investing.’ This form of investment would require new tools for measuring what I call the Well-being ROI (return on investment).

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Alberta continues to have a revenue problem

Mark Anielski April 2, 2015, Published on April 3, 2015 as “Jim Prentice missed a golden opportunity with this year’s budget”

I had the pleasure of meeting the new Premier Jim Prentice at the November 2014 Premier’s dinner in Red Deer. As he spoke about his passion and vision for Alberta, I sensed that he may become the next Peter Lougheed of Alberta.

I was hoping that Prentice’s kitchen-table cabinet would have the vision of making the most of Alberta’s incredible natural assets. Alberta’s oilsands reserves of roughly 168 billion barrels are worth $8.2 trillion based on a conservative US$50 per barrel of oil. At current rates of production of 2.1 million barrels per day, Alberta’s oilsands will provide 215 years of production benefit.

This week’s budget was disappointing because Prentice missed an important opportunity to open a new chapter in Alberta’s economic future by being as bold as Peter Lougheed was in the 1970s when he brought in a oil and gas royalty regime that collected a fair share of industry revenues while at the same time saving 30% of more of those revenues in Alberta’s Heritage Savings Fund.

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