The Need

Current funding doesn’t work

Calgary must grow its municipal pie. If we do not, then basic infrastructure in our rapidly growing city (such as schools, transportation, police, fire, etc.) will continue, understandably, to trump our requirements for cultural and recreational facilities. Calgary will continue to lag behind. Further, we will not realize the exciting opportunity of being really one of the world’s great cities—as we should be.

Click here for our full Oct. 29 update.

In July 2012, The Calgary Herald wrote:

“In the global demand for workers, quality of life is increasingly driving career decisions. Calgary, which faces an estimated workforce shortage of 90,000 within the next decade, is in a worldwide competition for labour, but we are being outmanoeuvred by cities of similar size — and with better climates — that are growing their cultural assets faster than us….

“Although originally skeptical of Transformation Calgary’s pitch some months back of a one per cent local hike in the GST as the fairest and most equitable way to build a dedicated reserve for culture and recreation facilities, this paper now believes it needs debate. The key is to empower citizens to approve any kind of tax hike in a plebiscite in which voters also get to approve the project the money will go toward, over a set period. Citizens thus take ownership of whatever they choose to build.

“In tax-averse Calgary, this is a huge mountain to climb. The time has come to at least give it a try with an initial project.”

Click here to see the full editorial.

In its May 2011 report The Penny Tax: A Timely Tax Innovation to Boost our Civic Investments, the Canada West Foundation found:

“A review of current capital budgets of the seven largest western Canadian cities shows that the combined infrastructure need over the next ten years is reported at $63.0 billion, of which only $21.5 billion in funding is in place. This leaves a shortfall of $41.5 billion, or almost $4.2 billion annually…. The ability of western Canada’s cities to meet these huge infrastructure requirements is hampered by a singular and heavy reliance on the property tax.”

Click here to see the full report.

In June 2011, The Economist reported:

“The result is that mayors must constantly go cap-in-hand to the provincial and federal governments for money for capital projects. The response has been an array of ad hoc funding for urban schemes…. But municipal leaders across the country want more stable and predictable finances.”

Click here to see the full article.