Picking Our Pockets
Calgary City Council is picking our pockets - but you don't have to take our word for it.
With property tax bills about to go into the mail for Calgary homeowners, let's review City Council's record on taxes.
The data provided by the City of Calgary shows that since 2010, when Mayor Nenshi was first elected, the median property tax bill for a typical Calgary homeowner has increased by a staggering 85% under Mayor Nenshi.
That works out to a tax bill that is more than $1,000 higher per year for a typical Calgary homeowner than when the Mayor first took office.
In fact, here's a quick graph showing you how the Mayor's tax hike agenda has rolled out year after year since 2010:
As you can see, Calgarians have had quite the taxing decade. Not once have median property taxes gone down since the Mayor splashed onto the scene.
But Calgary now finds itself in a fiscal crisis.
Daily, we hear from the Mayor and other Councillors that the City is broke.
But with property taxes rising substantially every single year, where have these millions and millions of dollars gone?
The short answer is that they ramped up spending. Dramatically.
In 2010, the City of Calgary spent $2.77 billion according to the 2010 annual report. In 2019, that spending number ballooned to $3.53 billion - that's an increase of nearly 30%
What drove that higher spending?
They grew the size of government and hired more employees.
In 2010, the City employed about 15,000. By 2019, that number had climbed to more than 17,000 people - an increase of nearly 2,000 full-time positions.
Not only did they hire more people, but they also paid them more.
Salaries, wages, and benefits cost Calgarians $1.42 billion in 2010, but that shot up to $1.98 billion in 2019, an increase of just under 40%.
When contract workers are added in, the City's total payroll in 2019 broke the $2.5 billion mark, with the City spending more than $500 million on consultants, contractors, and outside services.
But the spending didn't stop with current employees. The City spent heavily on retired employees as well.
In 2010, the pension and benefits liability for the City of Calgary was $309.1 million. In 2019, that number had grown to $495.6 million. That's an increase of nearly more than 60%
This cost will only continue to grow as more City employees retire and begin taking their expensive, taxpayer-funded pensions.
You may be asking yourself, with the increase in taxes, spending, pensions, and size of government, is there anything in the City of Calgary that didn't increase?
Yes. Citizen satisfaction with their local government is down.
In 2010, 94% of voters surveyed rated the quality of city services as "good." That number dropped to 83% in 2019.
However, both of those results are positively rosy compared to voter satisfaction with their local elected officials.
In a ThinkHQ survey done in Summer 2019, only 39% of those surveyed approved of the job being done by Mayor Nenshi. Council as a whole only got a passive grade from 32% of voters - that's less than one in three.
Higher taxes, more spending, larger government, richer pensions, and less satisfaction. That's not a proud record for either our city or our City Council.
Save Calgary believes that City Hall needs to stop the spending spree, cut taxes, reduce the size of Calgary's bureaucracy, get pensions under control, and focus on delivering core services to citizens.
Tell your City Councillor that you're sick of being overcharged by the City for bad work!
P.S. Unlike City Hall, Save Calgary doesn't pick your pockets through high taxes and out of control spending. Like other groups reliant on the support of individual donations, we've been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. If you're in the position to donate, we'd sincerely appreciate your financial support. Please visit SaveCalgary.com/donate to support our work in holding City Council to account!
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