Calgary Minute: Committee Meetings, Wasteful Spending, and Tax Hikes
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics.
This Week In Calgary:
Happy Thanksgiving - we hope you are having a great weekend! There is no council meeting today because of the holiday, but there are two committee meetings later this week.
On Wednesday, at 9.30 am, there will be a Standing Policy Committee on Utilities and Corporate Services meeting.
- On Thursday, at 1.00 pm, there will be a Calgary Planning Commission meeting.
Last Week In Calgary:
- Budget planning is underway at City Hall and this week it was revealed that even if City Council implements a spending freeze, residential taxes will go up by 7% next year! That’s because, until now, council has been increasing spending but only partially increasing taxes, covering the difference with savings. This year the savings have run out, so they need to hike taxes just to keep spending flat.
- Given the budget crisis, calls for not just a spending freeze, but an actual spending cut, have intensified. A budget freeze made sense back in 2014 when the recession first hit. But now, after 5 years of out-of-control spending increases, a budget cut is required. A big enough budget cut could actually reduce taxes slightly, but the new City manager seems to be signalling a mix of spending cuts *and* tax hikes are on the way.
Finally, if council wants to cut, there no shortage of waste to be found, starting with the $100 million in corporate welfare being thrown around by Calgary Economic Development. After one year of their program, figures show that the businesses they've given money to have created far fewer jobs than expected. It's so bad, even the mayor is surprised! We know corporate welfare doesn't work, but even if it did it's still bad policy. It's not fair for politicians to take hike taxes on existing businesses only to hand that money to other businesses who are often their competitors!
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