Bill Smith’s Misinformation Campaign

Throughout this election, Bill Smith has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running television, newspaper, and radio ads claiming that residential property taxes have increased by 51 per cent. This is flat out wrong.

The combined provincial and municipal property taxes paid by homeowners increased by 14.7% from 2011 to 2016. This is far from 51%.

Both Don Braid of the Calgary Herald and Metro Calgary have confirmed that Smith is misleading the public.

Don Braid Said:

“From the cynical perspective, putting it out there was a brilliant campaign move by the Smith team.

There have been tax hikes, of course. In a recession they’ve made many people angry enough to believe the worst.

The worst, however, appears to be nowhere near 51 per cent.

The original claim was based not on individual tax hikes, but on the growth in total property tax revenue collected by the city.

The residential property tax take increased nearly 55 per cent from 2010 to 2017. Property tax on business climbed almost 75 per cent.

That was largely new money. It came from migrants buying homes, and the the creation or expansion of businesses.

But for individual homeowners, the blended provincial/city property tax went up 14.7 per cent over that period.

On the business side, the blended tax receipts grew by 13.7 per cent.” [Emphasis added]

The following is an excerpt from Metro Calgary:

When Smith’s campaign was contacted to explain how he arrived at his numbers, they provided a link to the city’s tax levy – the total amount of tax money the city brought in each year.

That number has increased by 53.8 per cent since 2011 when it comes to residential taxes, and 74.9 per cent on non-residential.

University of Calgary Economist Trevor Tombe said saying that number equates to a tax increase is wrong. Instead it shows the growing city’s growing tax base.

“Much of that growth will come from a growing city population and from inflation,” said Tombe.

Calgary added about 150,000 new citizens since 2011, according to the city census data. It also had 74,126 housing starts to the end of 2016, each contributing more tax dollars to city coffers." [Emphasis added]

"Calgary in fact has the lowest residential property taxes of any major Canadian city, and as long as I am Mayor it will stay that way." - Naheed Nenshi

Facts Matter. More information can be found here.