City of Calgary proposed budget sends positive signal; property tax remains top of mind for business
Calgary, November 8, 2022 – The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is optimistic for the business community as the City’s proposed budget reflects a focus on safety, transit, and civic vibrancy throughout the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets. Despite an increase in expenditure, the proposed investments put Calgary on a path of economic stability and resilience.
Setting the stage and direction for Calgary’s next four years, the budget includes significant investments that will bolster business competitiveness, including increased funding for improved public transit, continued investments in downtown revitalization projects, and strategic advances that support public safety initiatives.
“We are encouraged by the City’s proposed budget. Over the past several months, we have been calling for a focus on talent, safety, rising costs, and brand and reputation, so we’re pleased to see these priorities reflected in the proposed budget,” says Deborah Yedlin, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “However, as businesses in Calgary grapple with rising costs, inflation, and labour shortages, deliberate investments and measures to reduce the burdens to businesses will be necessary, including a continued focus on tax competitiveness and improvements in service delivery to business."
The Calgary Chamber is particularly encouraged by the following initiatives outlined in the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets:
Investments in public transit including route optimization and scheduling, improvements in safety and accessibility, and decarbonizing the transit fleets to create a more accessible and user-friendly system for employees and customers.
Downtown revitalization funding to continue to improve the quality of public spaces and ensure civic projects, including Stephen Avenue, 8 Street SW Streetscape, Olympic Plaza, and others.
Broad investments in public safety in collaboration with the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Transit, social organizations, and community organizations to support social issues and respond to emerging community needs.
Focus on Calgary’s brand and reputation through the development and implementation of a marketing and communications strategy to showcase Calgary’s diversity.
Implementation of community vibrancy initiatives by allocating increased funding toward the Main Street program across the city to improve business areas looking to attract investment, as well as City Shaping Investments including Phase 1 Greenline, BMO Centre Expansion, Glenbow revitalization, Arts Commons, Eau Claire Plaza, and Calgary’s Event Center and Entertainment District.
With the additional $323 million in expenditure reflected in the proposed budget, the Calgary Chamber urges an enhanced focus and consideration for:
A commitment to a ratio of 2.8:1for non-residential to residential property taxes, alleviating the cost burden faced by businesses and cementing Calgary as the most attractive place to start and grow a business.
Further supports for businesses looking to attract, retain and develop talent, including investments in upskilling, reskilling, and micro-credentialing programs, and work with post-secondary institutions locally and nationally to move, open or expand campuses and residences within the downtown core.
Simplified processes and red tape reduction, including providing clear and consistent channel for contacting Administration to facilitate access to timely, accurate, and reliable information.
Economic diversification by supporting start-ups across industries scale and grow their business including through the provision of low-cost office spaces.
As the City moves forward with the 2023-26 Service Plans and Budget, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce encourages close collaboration and consultation with the Calgary business community.
ABOUT THE CALGARY CHAMBER
The Calgary Chamber exists to help businesses thrive. As the convenor and catalyst for a vibrant, inclusive, and prosperous business community, the Chamber works to build strength and resilience among its members and position Calgary as a magnet for talent, diversification, and opportunity. As an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization, we build on our 131-year history to serve and advocate for businesses of all sizes, in all sectors, and across the city.
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