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Advocates outline 21 ways for Calgary council to cut spending and taxes in 2021

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2020/10/21

CALGARY, AB: Ahead of the city’s budget deliberations, a group of advocates pushing for lower property taxes released the pre-budget report entitled 21 Ways to Cut Council’s Spending in 2021.

“Calgary taxpayers need a tax cut in 2021,” said Franco Terrazzano, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Alberta Director. “That means councillors and Mayor Naheed Nenshi need to finally roll up their sleeves and cut spending.”

The report outlines the many ways council can cut spending to lower property taxes in 2021, including ending multiple pensions, scrapping council’s corporate slush fund and across-the-board reductions.

Calgary council’s spending has increased every year since 2014 and is now $460 million more than it was when the downturn began. Spending has increased by more than $1 billion since 2010, or 35 per cent.

Calgary council approved a 7.5 per cent tax hike for families in 2020. Residential property tax increases (22 per cent) have outpaced inflation and population growth (16 per cent) since 2014. Taxpayers would have saved $216 million between 2014 and 2019 if the city’s residential property taxes merely increased with inflation plus population growth.

“There isn’t enough money for city hall to throw pensions parties, sit on a corporate slush fund and give the wealthy Flames owners hundreds of millions of dollars, especially when struggling taxpayers need relief,” said Terrazzano. “There’s still a ton of fat to cut at city hall so city council has no excuse.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Alberta Institute, Common Sense Calgary, the Institute for Public Sector Accountability and Save Calgary produced the report entitled: 21 Ways to Cut Council’s Spending in 2021. You can find the report here.