See Charter, Think Tax is a coalition of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Common Sense Calgary committed to advocating for no new taxes by Alberta's big cities, at least not without citywide referendums on any proposed new taxation powers.
The mayors of Edmonton and Calgary have been busy pushing for city charters – special agreements that could give their councils historic new taxing powers, the likes of which Albertans have never seen before. In Calgary, a city sales tax is even being considered by council, despite it requiring provincial approval.
Property taxes are already slated to rise in Calgary and likely in Edmonton. Municipal operating spending is growing at an unsustainable pace. The Alberta Municipal Spending Watch report released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that Calgary and Edmonton have been growing operating costs more than three times faster than what is sustainable over the last ten years.
The Alberta Government committed to working with the mayors on city charters and giving cities “the tools to build the services their residents expect."
Unlike premiers before her, Premier Notley has yet to rule out new city tax powers or tell all municipalities to first let the people have their say. In August, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation re-launched a petition demanding Premier Notley require citywide referendums before any new tax powers are given to big city mayors.
In a recent poll conducted by Common Sense Calgary, 48.3% of Calgarians indicated that they believe a referendum should be held on any new tax powers for municipalities in Alberta. Favouring a referendum was the most strongly supported response.
When it comes to a city sales tax or any other new city taxing powers, don’t let it hit you without your consent. Albertans deserve a say before any historic new tax powers are given to big city mayors.
Be ready to demand your voice is heard.