Tax burden unfair to businesses
Re: ‘Remarkable leader’ lost as city manager resigns, Jan. 9
Mayor Nenshi said Jeff Fielding had found efficiencies in the city’s budget sufficient to keep our taxes the lowest of any large city in Canada. This claim is both hollow and misleading.
The aggregate property tax revenue comes from two sources: non-residential and residential properties. Municipal governments choose the ratio by which the overall property tax burden is split.
Our council currently charges the non-residential sector four times the property tax paid by the residential sector. It’s troubling to note that, since 2014, that number has climbed steadily from a rate of 2.75 times the residential tax to the current inflated ratio.
What this means is Calgary’s residences pay less tax, not because of efficiencies, but rather because a dramatically higher rate of tax is collected from business. Criticisms about Calgary’s council being unfriendly to business are true and clearly borne out by these facts.
Calgary may have among the lowest residential taxes of any large city, but the truth is that this has been accomplished on the back of an already weak business climate. It’s no secret that the current problems faced by businesses began in 2014, and this flawed property tax policy only worsens the situation.
There are two parts to resolving the property tax issue and they must be executed together: significantly reduce municipal spending and increase tax levies on residential properties to strike a rational balance. To date, our council has proven incapable of accomplishing either.
Rob Millar, Calgary