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Ward 11 News: Economic Development Investment Fund Experiment

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I am pro business and pro free market. I strongly believe that the role of City Council is to create a healthy, stable and predictable business environment that keeps taxes low and makes it easy for companies to do business in, grow, and invest in our city.

I was the only vote on Council that opposed creating yet another city-owned subsidiary that will oversee a $100 million Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF). Now rebranded as the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF).
I voted against this because I strongly believe that low taxes, quality services and investing in infrastructure are the best way to keep business and attract new talent.
City Council’s role is not to pick winners or losers in business or to give handouts.
Calgary’s businesses need a predictable and responsive local government focused on creating an enabling environment. In other words, City Hall’s focus should be should be building business capacity, not business dependency.
In my meetings with business leaders, investors, small business owners and entrepreneurs, they continue to tell me that Calgary is one of the most difficult and unpredictable cities to do business in across North America. While I have no way of confirming this, if we were to combine this with a carbon tax, rising minimum wage, and continuing economic uncertainty, it is no wonder that investors continue to move their capital elsewhere.
These same people are telling me that, “There is a disconnect between City Hall and business.”
It seems odd that some of the funds resulting from what is essentially over taxation of existing businesses is going to be spent to bring competitors to Calgary.
While I have these concerns with the OCIF, I wish to applaud the work of the OCIF Steering Committee and thank these tireless volunteers for stepping forward. Their frequent meetings and updates with me are appreciated.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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