City council approves 7.8% tax increase for Calgary homeowners

A 9-6 vote in Calgary council chambers Wednesday was enough to approve a 7.8 per cent increase in property taxes for homeowners.

This means the average Calgary property owner will see at least $16 more a month disappear from their wallets starting next year.

Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp was strongly opposed to the idea of Calgarians having to pay more out of pocket.

“Further tax responsibility on our residents, on top of increased taxes higher than what we told Calgarians a year ago and every other single cost rising in their face,” she said. “These people are actually the same people who sustain business in Calgary and we have not talked about how they’re the actual consumers.,”

Council approved shifting the city’s tax burden towards residential homeowners from business owners by one per cent per year, for the next three years.

Watch: Calgary city council approves property tax hike, announces new investments

Ward 9 Coun. Gian Carlo Carra believes it had to happen.

“Hitting our small businesses so hard, and they’re still getting hit,” he said. “We also have to take care of the overwhelming mass of small businesses that are shouldering way more than their responsibility.”

On the other hand, Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot, thinks it’s the wrong idea.

“We’ve declared a crisis — an affordability crisis — to our most vulnerable and to those who are of the lowest income, to provide more affordable housing and yet, we’re talking about increasing the amount that they have to pay through this shift from the non-residential to the residential sector,” he said. “I’m not quite sure I understand the logic behind that.”

This is something the Chamber of Commerce is applauding while saying that more still needs to be done.

Among other things being addressed in the budget, the city is adding $27 million in annual funding towards affordable housing, including a one-time payment of nearly $55 million next year.

The amount for transit and community safety, including transit peace officers, has also been increased to $15 million.

On Wednesday, there were about 20 different amendments that were proposed to try and cut spending or provide some relief for Calgarians. But, nothing to bring down tax increases passed.

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