Councillors should be forced to cut the fat before getting more provincial tax dollars: CTF

Author: Franco Terrazzano 28/07/2020

CALGARY, ABThe Canadian Taxpayers Federation urges the Alberta government to ensure municipal governments have cut wasteful spending before they receive more tax dollars.

“Premier Jason Kenney should be forcing councillors and mayors to tighten their belts like everyone else, including his own government, before giving them more tax dollars to spend,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “Kenney was right to lower business taxes to grow the economy and instead of giving mayors buckets of cash, he should push them to follow his lead and lower property taxes to help families and businesses recover.”

Alberta municipal governments tend to spend more than their counterparts in other provinces. Calgary and Edmonton would spend hundreds of millions of dollars less every year if their per person spending was in line with other major Western Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg.

“Alberta’s municipal per capita expenses were the second highest among provinces (behind Ontario where municipalities also deliver a range of social services),” explained the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances. “Municipalities have experienced significant revenue growth of 48 per cent per person, including 29 per cent per person for Edmonton and 41 per cent per person for Calgary, primarily driven by municipal property tax increases [between 2007 and 2017].”

recently released CTF report illustrates that Alberta's municipal government labour costs increased by 17 per cent between 2014 and 2018 while total compensation for Alberta workers declined by six per cent.

“Giving Alberta’s big spending municipal governments more tax dollars is like dumping water into a leaky barrel,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “Councillors should be forced to show that they have cut wasteful spending before they receive any more tax dollars from the province.”