March 2017 Newsletter
Hello Ward 9 Neighbours,
Businesses are integral to Great Neighbourhoods and it is my fundamental belief that great neighbourhoods are the most powerful tool we have to build a diversified economy. Additionally, on account of our industrial working landscapes, Ward 9 hosts Calgary’s second largest economic engine behind the downtown.
Over the last few weeks, many of you have reached out to my office concerned about how the City of Calgary’s revenue neutral tax policy has spread the pain of taxation across our local business community, as assessments in the downtown core have plummeted on account of historic vacancy levels; our non-residential tax base outside of the downtown having to pick up the tax slack has been exceptionally hard on Ward 9 businesses.
I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the increases to non-residential property taxes and how we plan to help. At the end of January, City Council endorsed the Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Program (the PTP).
During the Mid-Cycle Adjustments in November 2016, City Council set aside $15 million with the intention of shaving the peak off of the rising taxes that our small- and medium-sized businesses would be dealing with in 2017.
We quickly learned that defining what entities actually met a meaningful test for what constitutes a small- and medium-sized business was incredibly challenging, and in the face of this uncertainty, that $15 million probably wouldn’t be enough. Happily, on January 23, Council voted in favour of taking $45 million from savings so we could broadly offer relief to all non-residential property tax payers.
The PTP will reduce taxes to a 5% increase for all non-residential accounts assessed. What this means is that, despite the increases pushed across the board due to lower downtown assessments, any business in Calgary facing an increase in the municipal portion of their non-residential property tax will not have to pay an increase of more than 5%.
On the whole, I'm very pleased that Council understands the challenges facing Calgarians right now, and that we’ve managed the City into a position where we’re able to help. In total, Council has approved $183 million in supports for Calgarians, which includes $73 million in tax relief, $66 million in user fees and utility rate freezes, $9 million in targeted initiatives, and $35 million in lower revenues absorbed by the City of Calgary through efficiencies.
I will continue to work on the behalf of my Ward 9 businesses, institutions, and residents.