Calgary Minute: Taxes Increased, Public Presented, and Police Refunded For Now
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
After the four-day budget meeting last week, there will, understandably, be no Council meeting this week. There will, however, be three Committee meetings.
- The Priorities and Finance Committee will meet on Tuesday to debate a large number of items, including a City submission to the Province's budget (calling for more spending, and more taxes, of course), an update from the City's Financial Task Force (that's the one dedicated to finding "new revenue options" and banned from considering any spending cuts), and a weird proposal to regulate the actions of Councillors during the upcoming election, including requiring them to notify (and in some cases get permission from!) other Councillors / the Mayor before attending public and even private events!
- Meanwhile, the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development will meet on Wednesday and the Calgary Planning Commission will meet on Thursday.
Last Week In Calgary:
- The week was dominated by Council's four-day-long budget meeting. In the end, the budget passed 9-4 with Councillors Magliocca, Chu, Farkas, and Gondek opposed. Despite claims by City Staff, the budget does not include a tax freeze for Calgary residents. Rather, it includes a (modest) tax increase which will be covered by a one-off rebate - meaning this increase won't be payable until 2022. Of course, Council provided a one-year rebate to last year's tax increases, so you will be paying *that* tax increase starting this year too.
- Easily the most controversial aspect of the budget, which took up most of the debate time, was the call to defund the Police. After much back and forth over various options, Council ultimately voted to fund their proposed alternative crisis response plan using $8 million from a reserve fund, rather than from the Police budget. A big win for everyone who signed our petition, wrote to their Councillor, and/or presented to Council on Monday! Our Executive Director, Megan McCaffrey, spoke to Rick Bell about this in the Calgary Sun.
- One other highlight - thanks to our call for people to sign up to present to Council, a far larger share of the public who spoke to Council on Monday advocated for smaller government and lower taxes, compared to previous years when it's usually almost entirely representatives of government-funded organizations calling for more government funding. Thanks to those who spoke to Council, and we encourage you to continue to do so on other issues in the future.
Common Sense Calgary doesn't accept any government funding and never will. We think you should be free to choose, for yourself, which organizations to support. If you're in a position to contribute financially, you can make a donation here.
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