Calgary, November 28, 2022 – The Calgary Chamber is encouraged by several of the investments approved by City Council as part of the One Calgary 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets, noting that much of the final budget reflected the Chamber’s Gearing Up for Growth recommendations. However, the decision to defer property tax distribution until 2023 creates uncertainty for both businesses and residents as they plan their finances for the upcoming year.
"The City budget includes several key investments, including in safety, transit, sport, and the arts while keeping tax increases well below inflation," says Deborah Yedlin, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. "However, businesses depend on certainty – and particularly as we head into an uncertain economic time, it's extremely disappointing to see City Council defer a decision on property tax distribution until next year. Given the current inflationary environment, we would have liked to see more clarity on this issue for businesses and residents."
Since 2014, the ratio between a non-residential property owner contribution and a residential property owner contribution has been drastically on the rise, in part due to ongoing downtown vacancy, shifting the property tax to small and medium-sized businesses outside the core. Thus, business owners have continually been shouldering more of the property tax burden each year.
Businesses across sectors have clearly cited property tax increases as the ‘last straw’ in a layering of costs that make it untenable to operate. The Calgary Chamber continues to advocate for a property tax distribution shift at a rate of two percentage points each year between 2023 and 2026 to return to a ratio of 2.8:1 non-residential to residential, in line with 2014 levels.
Despite disappointment on property taxes, the 2023-2026 Budget passed today includes several key funding allocations that will support Calgary’s economic future and our ability to attract and retain investment and talent today and into the future, including:
We urge City Council to consult businesses and consider ongoing challenges and rising costs facing Calgary’s business community. As an economic engine for the City and having faced several years of economic challenges, businesses are depending on a redistribution of property taxes. The Calgary Chamber looks forward to continuing to work with City Council to finalize a decision on this imminently.
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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