A furious Calgary MP says Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s retort that “math is challenging” after she criticized city council’s business property tax increases is one of the “most arrogant, out of touch, sexist statements” she has heard in public life. On social media Sunday, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel blasted Calgary’s property tax system, which has many…
As Mayor Nenshi explains, math is hard. That’s why City Hall is slamming families and small businesses with property tax increases this year. I reject the idea that the job of City Council is to invent new ways to waste money. It should be to do the work with less money!
Calgarian entrepreneurs and small businesses are key to getting us through the downturn. We have the talent and resources to turn things around and make Calgary the entrepreneurship capital of Canada. So why don’t we?
Calgarian families are struggling enough to make the numbers work without City Hall layering on the pain. True difficulty is being unemployed and deciding between paying for higher taxes, Christmas presents, mortgage/rent, car payments, utilities, or groceries.
Here are some numbers I hope City Council will consider:
$1,995,000,000: The cash sitting in City Hall reserve funds after a decade of over taxation. Yes, $2 billion dollars, with a ‘B’
11,000: The number of Calgary businesses that moved on or closed by September in 2016.
10.3%: Calgary’s unemployment rate.
$10,000: The amount that City Council bills to taxpayers every year to attend Calgary Flames games. Even in 2016.
$2,326: One average paycheque is all that stands between half of Calgarians and ruin.
50%: The amount of time spent in meetings discussing secondary suites and pitting neighbour against neighbour.
$1,250,000: The amount of money spent in 2016 fixing the Peace Bridge. We used indoor lightbulbs for a bridge – oops.
51%: The amount of City Hall’s tax-supported spending now going to salaries, wages, overtime, and benefits.
76% of businesses will see a tax increase in 2017.
44% of Calgarian homeowners will see an increase in property taxes.
73% of commercial properties will get a property tax increase.
25%: Calgary’s downtown office vacancy rate. Arguably a better measure of unemployment as it reflects contractors.