The United Conservative Party’s tax increase law would not apply to Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, The Counter Signal has learned.
On Monday, Smith’s United Conservative Party introduced a Bill called the Alberta Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act, which if passed, would prohibit the government from increasing personal or corporate income tax rates without Albertans’ approval through a referendum.
The bill is meant to give Albertans say over raising taxes, while also fulfilling an election campaign promise that Smith made in May.
But the Press Secretary from the Office of Treasury Board & Finance, Savannah Johannsen, told The Counter Signal that the proposed legislation does not include property taxes, meaning Gondek and Sohi would have free range to raise taxes as they see fit.
Johannsen said “We encourage all levels of government to follow the Alberta government’s lead in keeping taxes low and keeping life affordable.”
Calgary city council will deliberate the city’s 2024 budget next month. Gondek has already conceded that changes are required to the property tax ratio between businesses and residential properties.
“Calgary is badly lagging in terms of how business-friendly we are based on our property tax regime,” she said.
Gondek further said the tax ratio in most jurisdictions is two-to-one or 2.5-to-one, but Calgary’s is nearly 4.6-to-one.
As for Edmontonians, they might see a 7% property tax increase next year. City officials will also meet next month and deliberate over the spike. A report on the proposal mentions that city administrators know the increase will be hard on residents, but states that the city is facing increased strain from population growth and high utility costs.
“We acknowledge that Edmontonians are feeling a pinch. But we’re also experiencing much of the same thing,” Edmonton’s chief financial officer Stacey Padbury said.