Calgarians are already battling inflation, high interest rates, and the carbon tax, and now Calgary homeowners may be facing a property tax hike of nearly 8% under Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
According to the city’s newly-released 2023-2026 budget adjustments, property taxes are set to increase 5.7% by 2024. But if all investment recommendations are approved, including the 1% tax share, then the property tax increase will reach 7.8%.
The city is recommending to shift the tax share by 1% annually for the next 3 years from commercial to residential, increasing the tax burden on homeowners.
In most jurisdictions, the property tax ratio between businesses and residential properties is 2-to-1 or 2.5-to-1, but Calgary’s is nearly 4.6-to-1, which Gondek conceded must change.
At a 5-to-1 ratio, the province would have to intervene.
City council will begin budget deliberations on November 20, but city councillor Dan McLean has already come out against the hike.
“The fact is, this city has a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” said McLean.
The property tax hike would result in an average increase of $16 a month, or $192 a year, per household.
Originally, the city had budgeted a 3.4% tax increase for 2024.
Last month, Premier Danielle 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 a say over raising taxes. However, the proposed legislation does not include property taxes, meaning Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi would have free range to raise taxes as they see fit.
“We encourage all levels of government to follow the Alberta government’s lead in keeping taxes low and keeping life affordable,” Savannah Johannsen, press secretary from the provincial treasury board, previously told The Counter Signal.
Edmonton is similarly facing a proposed 7% property tax hike.