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City Budget Bulletin #7: We Need Your Voice!

10% Tax Hike Over 4 Years? We Need Your Voice!

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s single biggest priority is Edmonton’s competitiveness, and this year we have made a concerted effort to work with City Council and Administration to ensure their top priority is avoiding tax hikes for businesses in the 2019-2022 budget cycle.

Last week, the City of Edmonton Administration released its 741-page draft of the 2019-2022 Operating Budget.  While the proposed property tax hikes are lower than in years past, the combined increase of more than 10% over four years is still more than many businesses can bear in this economy — especially given the layers of costs that have been piling on from all orders of government since the recession hit.

Fortunately, the budget process is far from over. There are a number of opportunities coming up for the Mayor and City Council to reduce spending and thereby reduce or eliminate the proposed property tax hikes for Edmonton homes and businesses. The Edmonton Chamber strongly encourages the City of Edmonton to fund new priorities through savings, not taxes, but our message is much more powerful if individual business leaders like you join with us.

Please take a moment today to send your message to the Mayor and Council using this portal from our partners at Prosperity Edmonton, and consider joining us in person at the Public Hearing at City Hall on Thursday, November 15 starting at 1:30 pm.

Holding the line on taxes doesn’t mean emerging priorities cannot be supported. Edmonton’s City budget grew at double the rate of inflation plus population growth for a decade – that’s hundreds of millions of added dollars from which they can generate efficiencies.

The Chamber has been researching areas for closer examination such as waste management and recreation centre operations and publishing our work in this series of bulletins. In these bulletins we have also drawn attention to the high number of staff hired, and the significant annual raises that unionized public sector workers have received throughout this recession.

We call on the City to implement an aggressive review of whether dollars are being effectively spent, and to review its lines of business to see if its scope has become too broad.  We also asked City Administration dozens of questions over the summer to get them looking at various line-item cost increases and considering strategies for efficiencies.

Enough is enough.

Businesses simply cannot afford to pay more, nor should they.

The City has more than enough revenues and staff to ensure Edmontonians have the services we require to make this city great. City Council and Administration need to make the same tough decisions so many Edmonton businesses and households have had to make during this recession to ensure every dollar is being spent wisely.

This is a critical juncture. Council must stop the property tax hikes and get Edmonton’s competitive edge back to ensure our future prosperity.

Please let us know if you can help build momentum for fiscal restraint during these four-year budget deliberations by attending the City Hall Public Hearing with us on Thursday, November 15 starting at 1:30 pm by emailing us at policy@edmontonchamber.com.

Please also take five minutes today to tell the Mayor and your Councillor that you want them to restore business confidence in Edmonton by holding the line on property taxes.

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