March 15, 2017

Put City taxes to work in Calgary!

“Calgarians pay their property taxes with the expectation the money will be used for municipal services, such as policing, fire protection, sewers, garbage collection and such.

They contribute provincial taxes to fund priorities such as health care and education.

And they pay federal taxes for services such as national defence and international relations — plus, the co-ordination of foreign aide, an important file that Calgary councillors now feel they have to poke their noses into.”

Source: Editorial: We love Haiti, but city tax cash should be put to work at home

There are good intentions at City Hall. There always are.

When politicians spend time on things outside of their scope — like supervising construction in another country, or banning shark fin soup — they end up spending our money badly.

I want City Council to focus on their legal mandate: services at the best value for Calgarians.

Calgary’s unemployment rate remains above 9 per cent, 11,000 Calgary businesses closed or moved on in 2016 alone, and young families and seniors are being priced out of their real estate by record property tax increases.

That’s not to say we should do nothing. Since 2006, our federal government has provided over $1.6 billion in assistance. If Councillor Pincott had launched a fundraising campaign — with his own money — I know that Calgarians would have stepped up and donated far more than $25,000.

My vision is for Calgary to be a reliable neighbour, in good times and bad.

I support direct aid to other cities within reason; for example, loaning Calgary Police/Fire/EMS staff during the Fort McMurray wildfires. I oppose sending your family’s hard-earned money through dubious channels, where those in need will likely never see a benefit.

As long as Council has its hands on so much discretionary reserve funds (“surplus” property taxes) there will be no end to their generosity with our money, especially around election time. I will propose a series of policies to limit the size of these reserves, and how and when they should be spent.

How Council voted:

YES: Woolley, Farrell, Carra, Colley-Urquhart, Pootmans, Jones, Pincott, Nenshi
NO: Sutherland, Chabot, Demong, Chu, Magliocca, Keating, Stevenson