Coalition of Calgary taxpayer groups say proposed city charter would result in higher taxes

From the Calgary Sun

See charter, think tax.

A new coalition of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Common Sense Calgary is aimed at putting pressure on the provincial government to not grant taxation powers to Calgary and Edmonton under a city charter currently being negotiated.

“Call it a charter, call it a levy, a revenue lever, a power, a tool, a fee,” said Stephanie Kusie, executive director of Common Sense Calgary.

“It may be called by several names, but whatever you call it, it’s a tax. See charter, think tax.”


With the decline in oil prices resulting in 35,000 jobs lost in Alberta, CFIB Alberta head Amber Ruddy said governments need to focus on reducing spending rather than increasing taxes.

“Clarifying responsibilities to reduce entanglement between the province and local governments is laudable but adding more taxes is not,” she said.

“Municipal spending is out of control, so before elected officials ask residents to reach deeper into their pockets a serious attempt to address spending must be made.”

The three previous provincial administrations refused to even discuss the possibility of giving cities taxation powers, said Paige MacPherson, Alberta director of the CTF, and if the NDP won’t do the same, taxpayers should be represented during negotiations.

“This would set an entirely new precedent in Alberta,” she said.

“This would be a historic new way of stealing money from citizens essentially, this is something the likes of which Albertans have never seen before.”

But Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous countered that just because talk of tax powers are on the negotiating table, that doesn’t mean they’ll be granted.

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