Newly-formed Alberta coalition rallies against new city taxes

CALGARY – A newly-formed coalition is urging the provincial government to reject calls by Alberta’s big city mayors for the power to impose new taxes.

Three organizations have banded together to create the Alberta-based “See Charter, Think Tax” coalition: the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Common Sense Calgary.

The coalition is asking Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous to clarify where they stand on city charter arrangementsbeing negotiated with Calgary and Edmonton.

City charters in Calgary, Edmonton could impose new taxes, group says


From CBC

A coalition of taxation watchdog groups says proposed new charters for Calgary and Edmonton are just an attempt by those cities to get the power to levy new taxes.

See Charter, Think Tax is calling on Premier Rachel Notley and Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous to clarify where the new government stands on the charters, which were still on the negotiating table when the Tories were swept from power this spring.

Tax coalition concerned about possible new city powers

NEWSTALK 770 CALGARY -- A coalition made up of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Common Sense Calgary are calling on the province to not give cities any new taxing powers.

Both Edmonton and Calgary are asking for city charters to allow them more powers.

The See Charter, Think Tax coalition are concerned that the new powers will lead to higher taxes.

The coalition says overspending in the day to day operations of cities must be addressed before the cities demand even more from taxpayers.

It’s expected we’ll get more detail on this municipal charter in the Alberta budget October 27th. The province recently announced its updated Municipal Government Act would be complete in time for the 2017 municipal elections.


Kusie: Efficiency to be had at city hall

By: Stephanie Kusie
Across Calgary, many families are feeling the pinch due to the current economic slowdown.

Similarly, many businesses have had to put off expansion plans, delay non-essential spending and cancel perks for employees.

That’s why Common Sense Calgary called on City Hall to tighten its belt and reduce its planned property tax increase down to 1.3%; Statistics Canada’s inflation rate for our city. Many readers will know that council has been passing tax increases much higher as of late.


Kusie: City needs to cut its property tax hike

By: Stephanie Kusie

There have been countless stories in Calgary’s media as of late about layoffs and pay cuts. The province’s current recession is hurting a lot of families.

With that in mind, city hall should scale back its proposed 4.7 per cent property tax hike. A large tax hike like that is the last thing many families need right now. Thankfully, it appears council will be presented with a 3.5 per cent tax increase next week, but more needs to be done.

I know the problems Calgarians are facing well, as several supporters of Common Sense Calgary have told me they’ve been laid off or have had their pay cut. Many people went on to describe how they’ve had to put off buying a new vehicle, or won’t be making a winter getaway trip. Others have described decisions like dining out less frequently and cancelling their cable.

MacPherson: Lessons for Alberta from Vancouver’s Translink Tax Referendum

By: Paige MacPherson


The most important thing about Vancouver’s recent Translink tax referendum was that there was a referendum at all. On this, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley should take note.

The people in the lower mainland of BC recently voted 62 per cent against a 0.5 per cent municipal sales tax hike to fund the regional transit authority’s expansion plan. The tax hike had been proposed by the mayor’s council of the 21 municipalities that make up the Metro Vancouver region.

Beforeduring and after the vote, some have argued the vote was a waste of time and money. If the result had been an overwhelming yes – showing the public was in lockstep with the local mayors’ plans – one could more reasonably make that point.

The result, however, was a resounding no.

Ruddy: Canada's big city mayors need to rein in spending

By: Amber Ruddy


Mayors from across the country want us to believe they lack adequate funding and need more money to fix potholes, repair bridges, upgrade infrastructure and pay for social housing.

As they gather this week in Edmonton for the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference, they will surely dedicate a significant amount of time to talking about their “revenue problem.”

But research from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reveals that cities don’t really have a revenue problem.

What they have is a spending problem.

MacPherson: No New Tax Powers Without a Citywide Referendum

By: Paige MacPherson


Calgary City Council is currently mulling over a number of ways they could grab more of your cash to fund their transit plans. Some of them represent a major shift in the traditional taxing powers of Canadian cities, and all of them represent a major dent in Calgarians’ wallets.

On the table are a Calgary-specific sales tax, a four-cent-per-litre gas tax (weren’t Albertans just hammered with one of those?), a $144 per year vehicle registration tax, the likes of which was disastrously unpopular in Toronto and eventually repealed, and lastly, toll roads.

Fortunately, the province will be the final arbiter of whether to grant the city new taxing powers. But council should not ask any more taxing powers without first holding a city-wide referendum. Few if any of the current council ran on a platform of explicitly creating new taxes for Calgarians. Council needs the explicit consent of Calgarians before burdening them with new taxes or fees.