Calgary city council votes in favour of $60M budget cut and $70M in tax rebates

Click to play video: 'Calgary City Council votes unanimously to cut commercial property tax' Calgary City Council votes unanimously to cut commercial property tax
WATCH: Calgary City Council held an emergency meeting Monday to discuss a motion that would cut city spending and give businesses tax rebates. Carolyn Kury De Castillo reports – Jun 10, 2019

After a morning that started with a rally organized by small businesses, Calgary city council voted in favour of plan that will see some relief for non-residential property tax payers.

Councillors voted unanimously to support a plan that was put forward by Councillor Shane Keating to give businesses $71 million in rebates. It will also involve a city budget cut of $60 million this year.

READ MORE: Calgary mayor says latest tax relief plan that includes $60M in cuts goes ‘too hard’

“I think the business community was rightly frustrated in our ability to take action a month or so ago,” Councillor Evan Woolley said.

“Ultimately, what has come forward is basically a culmination of a number of scenarios that were there.

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Woolley said that this is the largest tax relief package council has ever given back to the business community.

WATCH: Calgary city council has unanimously agreed to slash $60 million from the city budget and to spend $71 million to reduce commercial property taxes. But as Christa Dao explains, one political scientist says there still needs to be a long-term solution.

Click to play video: 'Calgary city council will avoid tax crisis, for now: political scientist' Calgary city council will avoid tax crisis, for now: political scientist
Calgary city council will avoid tax crisis, for now: political scientist – Jun 10, 2019

READ MORE: Calgary council to look at temporary business tax solution Monday

He said, while this move is significant, structural changes in regards to the city’s “broken assessment system” is what must be tackled next.

“As council, we need to address structural problems and that will take us working with the province on that.

“But in the meantime, we need to get our house in order and that means budget reductions. This is not going to be easy,” Woolley said.

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“There is a little appetite for there to be too large of a shift — or almost any shift — to the residential. So we need to look very closely at our budgets to address this fiscal imbalance.”

READ MORE: ‘Calgary is closing’: City businesses campaigning against rising property tax bills

The motion passed on Monday would translate to an immediate 10 per cent cut to commercial tax bills.

The motion also involves the mayor sending a letter to the province urging reforms to property assessment and taxation.

Council will hear back from administration on details of the budget cuts in July.

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