Once again, Calgary city council has raised property taxes beyond the rate of inflation. No surprise. Over the past seven years, only once, in 2007, has council approved a tax increase below Calgary’s inflation rate.
If you asked average Canadian families what their largest expense is, many would probably say housing. And you can’t blame them. Mortgage and rental payments are a painful monthly reminder of how much we pay for this basic necessity.
Like other Canadians, you work hard for your money.
Faced with essential expenses such as food, clothing, and shelter, your household budget may feel squeezed. But what if we told you, your family's biggest expense is taxes?
Sure, you know how much you pay in income tax. After all, it's right there on your income tax return. In fact, income tax is the largest and most visible tax, taking $14 out of every $100 your family earns.
But that's just scratching the surface.
If you live in Calgary and you check your property tax bill this month, rest assured you are not imagining things: property taxes really are on the rise and way above inflation.
Some background: Calgary's property tax bill has two components, with the city's share at 56 per cent and the province's at 44 per cent.
Since 2007, the earliest year for which I have statistics, the province has hiked its rate beyond inflation in five of seven years. But the provincial government also dropped its taxes twice, in 2011 and this year.
Discussions about taxes are inevitably polarizing. Some Canadians think taxes are too high while others happily pay their share. But given the litany of taxes levied on us by the three levels of government, it is nearly impossible to get a sense of how much we truly pay.
As the stress of the April 30th tax filing deadline fades and the shock realization by most Canadians regarding how much income and payroll taxes they pay subsides, its worthwhile considering the costs imposed on Canadians to comply with tax regulations.
All told, governments in Canada expect to collect $586.6 billion in 2013 (fiscal 2013-14). There are, however, significant costs beyond the simple dollars extracted.
Its a pity that Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is busy picking fights with the provincial government and local homebuilders. His Worship seems preoccupied with the province over his desire to have a city charter that would allow him to tax more.