New Group, Prosperity Edmonton, Urges City of Edmonton to Manage Growth Without Tax Hikes
A new group called Prosperity Edmonton has sent Edmonton’s Mayor and City Council a letter offering to partner with the city to find ways to manage growth without resorting to property tax hikes that will hurt Edmonton’s job-creators. Prosperity Edmonton is an advocacy group of non-profit and for-profit organizations who have united to work with the City of Edmonton to hold the line on property taxes in the upcoming 4-year municipal budget cycle in order to improve Edmonton’s business environment.
In the letter, Prosperity Edmonton points out that while inflation and population together increased by an impressive 50.5% between 2006–2016, city operational spending more than doubled (a 103.4% increase in operating spending alone). Despite the number of businesses growing only 11% over that time span, the overall commercial tax bill from the City rose 124%, including increases right through the current recession. Many Edmonton businesses are struggling and looking to find savings wherever they can, and Prosperity Edmonton is very concerned that more tax hikes in the upcoming 4-year operating budget will drive jobs out of Edmonton and hurt the City’s opportunities to attract new businesses.
“Edmonton businesses continue to grapple with cost increases from all orders of government; in this four-year budget the City must identify operational savings to reverse the trend of ever-increasing property taxes. We need to find ways to make it easier for business to succeed in these challenging times – not more complicated or costly,” said Edmonton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Janet Riopel.
“Small and medium-sized businesses in Edmonton are facing a series of challenges and the prospect of another property tax hike has many looking outside the city limits or out of the region altogether. Entrepreneurs are tired of being cash cows and want to see evidence that the City of Edmonton has made strides to constrain spending growth,” added CFIB’s Amber Ruddy.
“Property taxes for businesses in Edmonton are rising faster than large cities around Canada. They are now about 69% higher than in the region and 17% higher than Calgary, and this is making our city lose out on business opportunities,” said Anand Pye at NAIOP.