Taxpayers Federation calls on Calgary councillors to cut salaries by 10 per cent on Monday
CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on Calgary city council to cut its pay by 10 per cent. A motion is coming forward Monday to freeze councillors’ salaries in 2019, but any councillor could offer an amendment to cut council’s pay by 10 per cent in 2019 and freeze it for the rest of the term.
“Freezing salaries is a good first step, but councillors need to show leadership by further tightening their own belts just like the people of Calgary they represent,” said CTF’s Alberta Director Franco Terrazzano. “Many Calgarians are still struggling and council has yet to show true spending restraint. Hopefully on Monday council will show leadership by cutting their salaries by 10 per cent to stand with Calgarians.”
Calgary is struggling with the highest unemployment rate of all major Canadian cities. Thousands of jobs have been lost across the province with total workers’ pay remaining below pre-recession levels. Many households and businesses have seen higher costs from the carbon tax, business and income tax hikes, along with property tax increases (further property tax increases were recently approved in the city’s next budget).
Government employees in Alberta earn a 10 per cent wage premium compared to their counterparts in business. Between 2014 and 2017, dollars spent on city “salaries, wages and benefits” increased by 15 per cent. According to a city of Calgary report, Calgary’s mayor and councillors earned $212,870 and $113,416 respectively in 2017, which is more than their counterparts in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Mississauga. Other golden benefits at the city of Calgary include:
- Calgary’s council pension cost taxpayers more than Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver combined between 2007-2016;
- Calgary appears to be the only major city in Canada that provides two pensions to its mayor;
- $10,000 average retirement bonus for city of Calgary employees; and,
- 236 city employees set to receive three pensions along with hundreds of employees set to receive two pensions.
“If council wants to convince Calgarians that it understands their struggles, it needs to be willing to share in the hardships,” said Terrazzano. “That’s why the CTF is challenging council to pass a 10 per cent salary reduction. We hope all councillors would support that amendment, but at the very least we need to have a vote so we can see which councillors are willing to trim their pay to stand with Calgarians and which ones are only out for themselves.”