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It is Decision Time on the City Budget – Your Voice is Critical!

Property tax increases, on top of increased taxes, fees, and other costs from all orders of government, are pushing many Edmonton businesses to the breaking point. The City of Edmonton released its proposed 2019–2022 budget, which will be voted on next month.

The Edmonton Chamber struck a Municipal Budget Task Force to work with the City, to represent the interests of job creators, to find areas where the City can achieve savings, and to avoid further property tax increases as we advocate for conditions that keep businesses competitive.

This is the ninth in a series of City Budget Bulletins through which we raised awareness and proposed solutions — please share them and let the Mayor and Council know how important it is to hold the line on property tax increases in the upcoming municipal budget.

A Note from Janet Riopel, President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce:

City Council’s public hearings on the budget wrapped up this week, and I wanted to send you the remarks I wrote for the hearings, which I have also sent to the Mayor and City Councillors.

More powerful than my remarks was the testimony delivered by business owners. In our last Bulletin we highlighted the Chamber members who spoke on the first day, and in this week’s hearings Council heard from many more business leaders making clear that property tax hikes will negatively affect them, their workers, and Edmonton’s economy.

They told Council how the layers of government costs are really hurting their bottom lines, at a time when revenues are already down. They made clear how this is a critical juncture for Edmonton, and that the proposed 10.5% tax hike will hurt business and send the absolute wrong message to entrepreneurs about Edmonton’s commitment to restoring its competitive edge.

We acknowledge that there are emerging priorities that merit consideration for funding, but it is so important that the City find ways to reallocate existing dollars to them, and not resort to more property tax hikes.

This year the Edmonton Chamber has undertaken an independent analysis of the Budget. We demonstrated that spending and tax levels have grown too much in recent decades — even through this recession — and businesses need a break. We posed dozens of questions to Administration, met with the Mayor and Councillors both collectively and individually, and released this series of City Budget Bulletins.

Our message to Council has been successful in many respects, but the tough questions they have to ask and the decisions they have to make still lie ahead. They will be deliberating and deciding on what to spend, where to save, and how much to tax you over the coming weeks.

Please read my remarks on the Budget and send the Mayor and your Councillor a message using this portal from our partners at Prosperity Edmonton. It is so important that Council hears from people like you as they decide on this critical four-year budget.

We need your voice. Yours truly,

Janet Riopel
President & CEO
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

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