January 21, 2016 9:03 pm
Updated: January 21, 2016 9:36 pm

Calgary city council to debate tax relief for small businesses

WATCH ABOVE: Calgary’s small and medium businesses are struggling with the trickle-down effect of low oil prices. Now, there is a proposal to give them a break on their business taxes. But is it enough to help them survive? Mia Sosiak reports.


CALGARY – A city councillor is looking to help small and medium-sized businesses, by pitching a two-year tax break.

It’s welcome news, at a time when many are struggling with the trickle-down effect of low oil prices.

The business tax cut proposed by Ward 8 Councillor Evan Woolley is meant to help small and medium businesses get through the economic slowdown.  They would get between $2,400 and about $14,000 in relief over the next two years, for a total of $60-million in rebates.

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“When times are good, businesses pay into … operating the city, and when times are bad it is incumbent on the municipal government to support them,” Woolley said.

READ MORE: Bank fees head north as economy goes south 

In recent months, about a third of the tables are empty most days in Darren Hamelin’s downtown restaurant, Escoba Bistro & Wine Bar.

In 2015, revenues were down $500,000, but property taxes and the increase to minimum wage are driving up Hamelin’s costs.

The restaurant owner said Thursday he’s thrilled some support for small business is coming from City Hall, even if it won’t reduce his overall costs much.

“It’s a gesture that I think will start people thinking about how tough it is right now on small business, so I welcome it 100 per cent,” Hamelin said.

Woolley said the loss in revenues can be offset with money from the City’s rainy day fund.  The proposal goes up for debate at city council on Monday.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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