Budget 2020 continues trends from Budget 2019, leaving municipalities to adjust to the downloaded financial burden from the provincial government and impacts to our residents due to the increased education tax requisition. As we communicated to Premier Kenney in January, building a stronger provincial-municipal partnership is key to restoring the Alberta advantage.
Municipalities have acted in good faith, as partners that have helped the provincial government during this time of fiscal restraint. Through finding efficiencies and balancing budgets, municipalities have minimized impacts and avoided passing along major cutbacks to essential local services. These efforts occurred despite a lack of meaningful consultation by the provincial government about local economic outcomes to cutbacks unveiled in Budget 2019. Fortunately, AUMA’s early analysis indicates that Budget 2020 does not add to that burden.
“AUMA wishes to engage with the provincial government based on our common goal of getting Alberta back to work,” states AUMA President Barry Morishita. “We have heard the commitment from the government that they’re focused on strategic, coordinated investments to stimulate our economy. We hope this results in engaging in collaborative partnerships with municipalities to ensure that responsible investment occurs in our communities, where we can maximize the return on our investments, create jobs and stimulate our economy,” he adds.
Another area of great concern to municipalities is the provincial government’s increase to the education tax requisition. President Morishita explains, “Despite the provincial government freezing spending in the education sector, it appears they are collecting an additional 4.1 per cent, which is equivalent to about $102 million from taxpayers. Let's call this what it is: a tax increase that's making life more unaffordable for Albertans, and one that has been downloaded to municipalities to collect as part of municipal property taxes. It’s unacceptable to municipalities, and to our residents. We will take this up with the Ministry of Treasury Board and Finance.”
However, AUMA is pleased to hear of the plan for fixed budget dates, since it will make annual fiscal planning easier for municipalities. And we continue to advocate for meaningful opportunities to consult with the Government of Alberta about solutions that contribute to the fiscal health of our province. Our association speaks with a united voice and supports all urban municipalities, large and small, during our current fiscal reality. We look forward to sharing in brighter times ahead and building strong communities, and a stronger Alberta.
For more information:
Communications Manager, AUMA