After failure to amend the issues that small businesses are facing due to the recent increase in commercial property tax at Monday’s city council meeting in Calgary, many business owners have been voicing their frustration.
Roughly 64 per cent of commercial property owners will see a double-digit increase on their tax bills this year, in large part due to the dramatic decrease in downtown property value and the subsequent redistribution of non-residential taxes.
With seemingly no other options in sight, Calgary business owners are banding together in the form of a rally, taking place Monday, June 10 at a Calgary city council emergency session to discuss the tax property crisis.
Mayor Nenshi and city council’s proposal for a tax relief package last week had given some hope until the new Minister of Municipal Affairs, Kaycee Madu suggested that the city of Calgary “needs to look after its own house,” while Premier Jason Kenney said he wishes Calgary well in trying to figure it out.
Nenshi has since responded, stating that Calgary has not only been looking after its own house, it’s been looking after the province’s as well. Nenshi added that approximately 40 per cent of the property tax collected goes to the provincial government. Nenshi has also disputed the many claims that Calgary's historically poor spending choices have led to the $300 million tax revenue shortfall.
On Monday, city council will vote to approve a $70.9-million rebate to Calgary business property owners, and many of them will be in attendance to voice their opinion. While the rebate will undoubtedly help those who were substantially hit by the increase, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of longterm solutions.