As Calgarians receive their property tax bills this week many of you will be left feeling frustrated and unheard. For years Calgarians have consistently stated that they do not wish to pay higher taxes while Council continues to spend money on frivolous projects. For the last two and a half years I have listened to my residents in person at their doors, on the phone and on email repeatedly say “please be the voice of reason on Council”. People are being pushed to their financial limits and, now more than ever, need to be assured that their tax dollars are being spent on NEEDS and not WANTS. That is why I voted NO against the Provincial tax increase that was passed down to City Council.
As I have mentioned before, under provincial legislation, the City of Calgary had no choice but to accept the increase the Province set. However, I still chose to vote NO to property tax increases. I knew the tax increase would pass but someone had to stand up and say enough is enough. I witness taxpayers having to pay for the wants of self serving political figures all the time. It seems this problem is systemic at all levels of government. Government officials have a constant thirst for pet projects and legacy programs that serve their purposes rather than the needs of those who foot the bill.
For every new strategy, every program, and every project there is a higher burden placed on taxpayers. But at some point something has to give. People cannot be expected to pay more indefinitely. When will enough be enough? When you hear the word “strategy” being tossed around prepare for it to hit you in the pocket book.
I joined this Council in 2013 knowing that the past Council had a spending problem. Two years later it is left up to you to decide whether anything has changed. However, I would like to think that I have done my part to try and change the culture. Does this make me unpopular with some people at City Hall? You bet it does! But I was not elected to make friends. I was elected by the residents of Ward 4 to be their voice on Council and that is exactly what I am doing. I hear it all the time from my residents that they do not want to pay more in taxes while they are not convinced Council will spend their money wisely.
As the Councillor of Ward 4 I understand that at some point taxpayers need to get a win. I will continue to voice my opinion that Council must focus on NEED based spending and stop with the trendy projects and initiatives. It is time for political leadership to find a different way of doing things. Increasing taxes is just an easy way out for politicians at City Hall. We need to start making the hard decisions so we can limit our self serving extravagant ways and ensure we do not pass along uncontrollable debt to future generations.
Many of you will find yourselves struggling to pay the unexpected tax increase for 2016. There are ways to help manage the shock of seeing such a large bill each year. You can sign up to TIPP, which will break payments down each month, on top of your mortgage to help your budget. Click here for the main link to all the questions, and answers related to Property Taxes. I am of course here to help in any way I can, if you have further questions or need help on other issues.