Mario Toneguzzi‘s guest on Business Insider: Keyli Kosiorek, Senior Policy Analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, discusses the latest Alberta Municipal Watch Report on spending and taxes.
Canadian Federation of Independent Business News Release
Alberta municipalities reduced their operating spending in 2020, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ (CFIB’s) latest Alberta Municipal Watch Report. The report looks at operating spending trends and property tax fairness in Alberta’s 17 largest municipalities. In 2020, 15 of Alberta’s 17 largest municipalities reduced their operating spending, which is a trend we hope to see continue. However, municipalities did little to address property tax fairness, with Alberta businesses paying nearly 40 per cent of all municipal property taxes while only making up 20 per cent of assessed property values – a fairness ratio of 1.98.
“The pandemic forced municipalities to reduce their operating spending in 2020, and some property tax relief was provided to small businesses,” said Keyli Kosiorek, CFIB senior policy analyst. “We hope municipalities will continue this trend and reduce taxes for small businesses and residents, who are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.”
Property taxes are still a top concern for Alberta small business owners with 73 per cent agreeing property taxes should be lowered in their municipality to help their business succeed. In addition, 93 per cent of Alberta small businesses agree not imposing new or increasing existing municipal costs for small business is key for economic recovery. A strong majority (90%) also want to see the province work with municipalities to address increasing property taxes.
Key findings from the report include:
– The average real operating spending per capita across Alberta’s 17 largest municipalities was $2,383 in 2020.
– Cochrane decreased its per capita operating spending by 32 per cent between 2010 and 2020 while seeing the greatest population growth (108%) of any municipality.
– Cochrane reported the lowest per capita operating spending ($1,452) while the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo reported the highest ($4,629).
– Alberta’s average property tax fairness ratio was 1.98. Leduc has the fairest property tax system with a fairness ratio of 1.11 – meaning the municipality has near fair property tax treatment between businesses and residents.
“With municipal elections around the corner on October 18, we are closely watching which candidates will make municipal spending and property tax fairness a priority,” concluded Kosiorek. “Alberta small businesses face a tough uphill battle to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Real leadership will be needed from incoming municipal governments to ensure small business survival and economic recovery.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works as a freelance writer and editor as well as a consultant in communications and media relations/training.
He is VP of Content & Strategy for MegaPixx Media, which owns and operates YYC Business, and owner of Mario Toneguzzi Communications Inc.
Mario is a regular contributor to various national and local publications including Retail Insider, RENX, Globe and Mail, The Star, National Post, Real Estate Magazine, Troy Media, YYC Business, Grocery Business Magazine and many others. He’s also a host for Calgary and Edmonton on Canada’s Podcast network. And he’s a regular contributor of content for companies and organizations to populate their websites.
Frequent commentator on television and radio on business news, issues and trends.
Named in 2021 as one of the Top 10 Business Journalists in the World by PR News – the only Canadian to make the list.
Part of the Herald’s National Newspaper Award winning newsroom for coverage of the June 2013 floods in Calgary.
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