Edmonton Chamber says fiscal restraint must be top of mind as City develops four-year budget
June 21, 2018
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is urging City Council to keep the concerns of business front and centre as they consider a report from City Administration on potential budget plans and tax rates for the next four years.
In advance of the Tuesday council meeting, the Chamber sent a letter to Mayor and City Council highlighting the need to avoid spending and tax increases given the strain local businesses are under.
“We know that if we wait until the budget is already drafted changes will be difficult to make, so we’re being proactive and working with the City as an engaged and helpful partner,” said Janet Riopel, President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “Edmonton businesses are seeing economic difficulties made worse by the taxes and regulatory burdens being imposed by all orders of government. By holding the line on spending and taxes, City Council can send the message that they know businesses are struggling and can’t afford to pay more.”
While Edmonton certainly had strong growth in the last decade (inflation and population combined for a 50% increase from 2006–2016), city operational spending grew at an unsustainable rate of 103%. This created an annual total of $650 million in our operating budget beyond what a generously adjusted 2006 spending level would be. Total business and commercial property taxes paid to the City rose 124% from 2006–2016 to pay for this significant spending increase, despite the number of businesses only growing 11%.
“We want to help City Council and Administration find solutions that will improve Edmonton’s business environment,” said Riopel. “We need to create a climate that attracts investment and helps Edmonton-based businesses create the jobs that our city so desperately needs as we come out of the economic downturn.”
The Edmonton Chamber is taking action.
- We are consulting with our members to understand how property taxes and the City’s budget affect their businesses.
- We have formed a Municipal Budget Task Force that will undertake an independent analysis of the City’s budget and a review of municipal regulations and approval processes and timelines.
- We are leveraging the collective expertise of Prosperity Edmonton, a group of non- and for-profit business organizations united to work with the City to hold the line on property taxes.
“Fiscal restraint must be top of mind as this four-year budget is developed,” said Riopel.
Thursday, June 21 – City administration releases Operating Investment Outlook, which provides Council with a high-level view of the proposed 2019–2022 Budget.
Tuesday, June 26 – City Council meeting to discuss Operating Investment Outlook.