Calgary is a great city, and a great city deserves dedicated leadership that supports a strong economy, promotes small businesses and job creation, and creates a path to a brighter future.
In spite of the vigilance of fiscally responsible Councillors, like myself, the cost of City government has grown steadily – and at a pace that far exceeds inflation. To stop over-spending, we need to look at every function of government, and ask whether these are things the City needs to be doing, and if they continue to be relevant, valued services. Are they ‘need to haves’ or ‘nice to haves’?
We must get back to being the most affordable, efficient and high-quality provider of the essential and basic services Calgarians want, in a way that every taxpayer feels they’re getting good value for money.
That doesn’t mean saying no to everything, or a government that can’t deliver the things citizens expect – but it does mean government delivering results – a Council that is collaborative and focused on the things that Calgarians have as priorities – like transit, road and pedestrian safety, maintenance and affordable communities with successful community-based businesses.
It means a government committed to living within its means – so that we can be there when Calgarians are facing the biggest challenges in a generation. We can do this – and it doesn’t require the ‘simplistic solution’ of constantly raising tax rates. It’s your money, and it’s time to stop digging deeper and deeper in your pockets.
Looking forward, we need to do a better job of championing innovation – as part of reining in costs, and attracting new investment and more of the best minds around the world – so that Calgary continues to be seen as the best place to raise a family, start a new business and create opportunity.
Focusing on innovation will not only lower costs and improve quality – but bring new, 21st century jobs and industries to the city – achieving our potential as leaders in the new digital technology economy – the economy of our children’s generation.
I ask you to support me in setting our sights high. With your support, Council can act to create the right environment for future prosperity by asking ourselves what we need to do to build and maintain a “Calgary Advantage for 21st Century Growth” – a bold vision focused on growth industries that can take the place of the “Alberta Advantage” we used to enjoy, and which served this province well.
Council can do this if we commit to being more accountable to the people of Calgary – reporting on how our actions and decisions are leading toward goals like bringing back jobs in manufacturing, developing digital, scientific and technical services sectors, increasing trade, and securing Calgary’s position as western Canada’s #1 transportation and logistics hub.
I’m committed 100% to this vision, and the promise of opportunity that it represents for all Calgarians – today and into the future.
We also need to take a hard look at property tax rates to ensure fairness and get away from the ‘death spiral’ of our current system – increasing taxes on this year’s ‘survivors’ – pushing the next group of businesses, tax-payers and employers over the fiscal cliff … because we can’t get the votes on Council to be more responsible with your money, and live within our means!
I commit to total revenue neutrality, and to encouraging development in a way that avoids neighbourhood decline in older, established communities – avoids school closures and reduced transit – and makes it harder and harder for small businesses to stay in our communities. We must take an approach that captures the greatest value for Ward 4 in terms of modern amenities, sustainable neighbourhoods, high-quality services, local employment, and improved infrastructure.
All of this is possible while also lowering the cost through ‘Smart City’ approaches that lower energy consumption and emissions in the most economic and innovative ways possible.
But as important as big-picture goals – I continue to commit to taking care of the real-life, everyday things that matter most to the people I’ve been proud to represent. My track record is clear … and we have accomplished a lot in terms of your priorities for safety, getting things done in a timely manner, and being responsive to your concerns.
I commit to this vision – and to the promises that have guided my work on your behalf: to listening – fighting for better fiscal management, transparency and responsibility – solving problems, and being your agent for building a great city.