Calgary property assessments are out and residential property values are down by an average of 6 per cent. The City has what they call a “revenue neutral” calculation that it uses to determine how much businesses will pay so, if your assessment is above that 6 per cent decrease, you’re going to pay more despite the Mayor and City Council calling this a tax freeze.
Part of the issue is that office space properties in the core have gone down the most compared with any other business land in the city due to low vacancy. Business values are down $3.8 billion and that leaves a $50 million hole to fill.
The city won’t be making any money from businesses that are paying more, but council can’t run a deficit and they have to make up the money somehow, so they’re kicking businesses while they’re already down.
Under the city’s calculations, those business properties that didn’t decrease by more than 6 per cent and the ones that saw a legitimate increase in property value that comes along with an increased tax, are taking the brunt of the bill in a redistribution of tax liabilities.
Essentially, even if your business property value was down, your costs are still going up.
The city keeps telling Calgarians that they’ve frozen property taxes, but three quarters of businesses are facing increases. This equates to thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the year.
This is just another example of unfair, bad government policy that picks winners and losers and gets in the way of businesses.