City Council has its work cut out for it

City Council has its work cut out for it: refine the Proposed 2019-2022 Operating Budget to get to a zero percent tax increase for next year

 

Edmonton- City of Edmonton Administration last week released its Proposed 2019-2022 Operating Budget, which would require an increase in property tax revenue of 18.9%, or nearly 5% per year over four years, to cover spending increases. While some of this increase would be covered by growth in property values, this proposed spending increase would lead to a 3.3% overall tax increase for all Edmontonians in the upcoming budget year.

Following many years of property tax increases, a further 3.3% increase will add a larger burden on businesses that have already seen tax bills rise at a pace far greater than inflation.

For example, Antrim Industries a local small manufacturing business, will see its annual tax bill rise by $2,500 next year. Even though no major work has been completed on Antrim’s building, its property taxes have risen from $21,000 / year in 2001 to $74,000 / year currently. The most recent proposed increased, if enacted, would mean Antrim’s property taxes more than quadrupled over the last 20 years.

Another small business, River City Events, will see a nearly $5,900 increase in yearly property taxes, on top of the $179,000 the company already pays. The proposed City budget stands to make it even more difficult for small businesses like Antrim, River City Events and many others to grow, hire, and continue investing in Edmonton.

Over the past several months, Prosperity Edmonton and our members have been working hard to communicate to Council the need for restraint in the upcoming four-year operating budget. We are encouraged by comments from the Mayor and Council that indicate many of our municipal elected leaders understand the need to control spending at the City of Edmonton.

Businesses and households make tradeoffs in their budgets all the time. The City must also prioritize its budget with the money it has. Property taxes collected by the City of Edmonton have increased faster than population growth and inflation for over a decade. The continual cost increase imposed on the people and businesses of Edmonton is unpredictable and unsustainable and will have long term damaging effects on our city. Property tax increases have already pushed out many businesses, straining the residents and businesses that stay. Administration’s initial proposed budget numbers are far higher than they should be, and Council must take decisive action over the next several weeks to bring them down.

The good news is that Council now has an opportunity to modify the proposed budget prior to a final vote and approval of this four-year operating budget.

Prosperity Edmonton is calling for a zero percent tax increase for 2019, and urges City Council to make choices over the next month that will lead to that result.

To arrange an interview with a Prosperity Edmonton spokesperson, please contact: media@prosperityedmonton.com

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