Raising Rents on Calgarians
Even a global viral pandemic can't stop the tax hike carnival down at Calgary City Hall.
Last month, they raised taxes on homeowners and families. Despite half of Calgary's small and medium businesses on the brink of collapse and tens of thousands of Calgarians out of work, they still decided to send you a bigger tax bill to keep the bloated spending going.
Now, they've decided that rents in Calgary are just too affordable for renters.
Last week, City Council voted against property tax relief on high-density rental buildings (e.g. apartment towers). The City's numbers show that many in the downtown core will face tax hikes of up to a whopping 40%.
Efforts to stop this latest tax hike were met with derision on the part of most Councillors.
Mayor Nenshi himself opposed any move to keep rents down by avoiding a mammoth property tax hike on rental buildings - see this tweet from Calgary Herald journalist Madeline Smith:
Councillor Farkas put forward a motion to cap the tax increase to 10% - that motion was defeated.
Councillors Joe Magliocca, Sean Chu, Evan Woolley, and Jeromy Farkas were the only Councillors who tried to keep the increase down while the rest of Council stuck their hands in our pockets once again.
Right now, rents are frozen for Calgary renters. However, this rent freeze will end when the province lifts the state of public health emergency.
Higher property taxes on high-density rental buildings will be passed on to renters in the form of higher rents.
Last week also saw City bureaucrats also present the latest update on Calgary's finances, and the news isn't good.
With falling revenues due to Covid-19, the City of Calgary is facing a potential $145 million to $235 million shortfall depending on when then the local state of emergency ends.
The Alberta government has floated the idea about letting the City of Calgary run deficits during this tough economic time.
Save Calgary strongly opposes this move.
Calgary hasn't done yet exhausted all of its cost-savings options to maintain their operations.
They continue to have hundreds of millions of dollars in various funds, and are maintaining funding for many non-essential programs, including the ridiculous "climate resilience" strategy.
Moreover, the City has only laid off 10% of its staff. Despite having thousands of employees with no work to perform, and many others working at well below capacity, the City hasn't reduced its payroll despite the steep decline in revenues.
Until such time as Calgary takes all possible actions to cut costs and eliminate wasteful spending, the Government of Alberta shouldn't give them a new unlimited credit card to take on debt. Any debt the City takes on now will need to be paid back once the crisis has ended, and it will give local politicians a good reason to further hike our property taxes.
City Council is continuing to consider options to help families and businesses struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.
We believe that the single best way to help everyone, right now, is to reduce their tax burden so they can keep more of their own money to pay their bills.
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