A new poll suggests nearly three-quarters of Edmonton homeowners are tired of increasing municipal taxes.
Prosperity Edmonton said 73 per cent of those who participated in its Leger poll wanted a hold on tax increases, and 51 per cent believed the city should hold off on any new municipal spending, “even if that means the city can’t improve the services it offers or begin providing new services.” Eighty-two per cent of respondents also said taxes will be an important factor in their voting decisions for the next municipal election, the poll suggests.
The association said the poll measured homeowners’ opinions on city spending, taxation rates and other related issues.
City of Edmonton administration has recommended a 3.3 per cent tax hike for 2019. It would mean the average household would pay an extra $80 next year. Nearly half of the additional funds would go towards law enforcement.
The poll also indicated 63 per cent of respondents supported operating new recreation centres on a revenue-neutral model — possibly by contracting a third party to operate the facilities — as a way to decrease spending and avoid tax increases.
Prosperity Edmonton also said 83 per cent of those polled felt “it is unfair that city employees receive higher salaries and work fewer hours than the average Edmontonian.”
Prosperity Edmonton is a group of business associations from various sectors, including restaurants, retail outlets and construction that was formed to represent its members to create a different tax and policy climate.
The association has also been vocal about its opposition to the rise of property taxes for businesses as well, with some businesses experiencing an increase of over $100,000 in the last two years.
In June, Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Janet Riopel said the increases have made it difficult for businesses to survive.
“A high property tax environment, a commercial property tax environment, a difficult policy environment, these things make it very difficult for business,” Riopel said. “They’re forced to make all kinds of decisions and they have over the last few years.”
In September, Mayor Don Iveson unveiled his five-point plan for what he called “Edmonton’s toughest budget in a decade.” It included a locally based levy that would be charged to developers and then passed along to new home buyers in new neighbourhoods, which Iveson said would relieve pressure on Edmontonians by not increasing taxes to homeowners and businesses that will not get a benefit from a development.
This Leger poll was conducted on behalf of Prosperity Edmonton between Oct. 23 and Nov. 5, 2018, using a sample of 502 Edmonton homeowners aged 18+ from Leger’s Computer Aided Web Interviewing system. Data was weighed by quadrant, gender and age. Leger said as a non-random online survey, a margin of error is not reported. Had the data for the general population been collected using a probability sample, results for a sample size of 502 would be statistically accurate to within ±4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.