Macdonald: Calgarians Use Your Voice: Online Petition Launches Support for a City Wide Referendum
Common Sense Calgary is concerned that the incoming City Charters will provide the City with a vehicle for new taxation powers. Today, we launched a petition calling on you, the citizens of Calgary, to support a referendum that will allow you to vote on whether City Council should be given taxation powers through the City Charters. This petition is part of a broader coalition titled, "See Charter, Think Tax."
"The City is not being transparent about the possible creation of new taxes through the City Charters," says Kathy Macdonald, Executive Director of Common Sense Calgary. The City has had plenty of opportunities to inform the public about their plans; in fact, the many staff, consultants and subject matter experts in attendance at the public engagement events in October 2016, could not provide any information about possible taxation powers or financial implications of the Charters.
Mayor Nenshi also had the opportunity to discuss this issue in his New Year's video entitled, "Looking Forward at 2017 with Mayor Nenshi." However, in this video the Mayor did not even mention the Charters but merely discussed how the City will be redistributing $200 million from the reserve fund to help citizens and businesses with relief in taxes and fees, savings and targeted initiatives. In this video, the Mayor uses the word "invest," but perhaps he should just use the phrase "tax and redistribute." Common Sense Calgary believes the City's role is not to make the bureaucracy bigger, but is to make the city better for its citizens, especially its taxpayers.
Calgary Council needs to cut taxes so businesses can create jobs and help get the economy back to work. In doing so, they will attract and retain investment from around the world and will promote an organic environment for innovations and creative enterprises. City Council should not stifle the entrepreneurial spirit for which Calgary is so well known. Does the City think that taxation is the only predictable and dependable revenue the City can rely on? It sure seems so.
The reality is that taxes have been surging, 79% of all businesses operating in Calgary and 73% of non-residential property owners will get an increase in property taxes this year. The City should cut spending rather than continuing to find ways to tax.
So come on Calgarians, use your Common Sense! Please sign the petition to ask for the right to vote on whether the City should be given taxation powers in the City Charters. It is important to have a voice and a choice!
Kathy Macdonald is the Executive Director of Common Sense Calgary, the only organization dedicated exclusively to dialogue on civic politics.