2014 July 17
Re: NOTICE OF MOTION - EFFECTS OF COMBINED TAX AND UTILITY RATE INCREASES FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS AND SMALL BUSINESSES
Too Often We Forget the Human Face behind the Numbers
As a city, we continually add and enhance infrastructure, services, and programs. These initiatives cost money. In order to afford them, we increase taxes and utility rates. Currently, City Council approves these rate hikes with minimal opportunity to comprehend exactly what these increases mean to vulnerable cohorts of the population. These low income households, which include seniors, low income seniors, single and fixed income families, minimum wage earners, and small business owners, make a significant contribution to the overall functioning, economic success, and vibrancy of Calgary. These groups also rely on a reasonable taxation system in order to remain in Calgary long term.
Too often, on Council, we see budget reviews as just numbers and forget about the human faces behind those figures. On July 28th, I will be submitting a Notice of Motion that will evaluate the impacts of increases to municipal tax and utility rates on low income households and small businesses. This will ensure better informed budget decisions and provide better protection for those who are disproportionately affected.
What may amount to simple rate hikes to some, amounts to life altering compromises for others. We need to be cognizant of that fact. We need to incorporate this information into the decision making process. This tool may demonstrate our need to first find efficiencies within as unfettered rate increases could make it challenging, or even prohibitive, for some citizens to live or conduct commercial operations in Calgary without costly supports. I firmly believe that Council needs the opportunity to hear how a 3% rate hike affects a low income senior and we need this type of information BEFORE we make our rate decisions.
COUNCILLOR, WARD 4
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