by Morinville News Staff
The NDP claim is calling on the government to outline the true costs of their budget cuts to Alberta municipalities. The opposition party says Alberta families will pay more under the United Conservative government. Citing recently released data, the NDP says rural Alberta families could be on the hook for more than $1,000 over the next four years to pay for what they say is the UCP’s corporate tax giveaway.
The NDP list cuts to the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) and Grants in Place of Taxes (GIPOT) in last year’s budget as well as a new funding formula for rural policing as measures that will force municipalities to cover the costs through property taxes.
“Premier Kenney and his UCP government are forcing Albertans to pick up the tab for their $4.7 billion giveaway to corporations by downloading costs onto municipal ratepayers,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley in a media release Monday. “Ultimately, this falls on Alberta families, and it hits rural Albertans the hardest.”
Notley called on Premier Kenney and his party to give Albertans a break at a time when many are struggling by reversing the corporate tax break.
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) have said increased policing costs and unpaid non-residential taxes, and reductions in grant funding, are having significant impacts in rural communities.
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) voiced their concerns in a letter to Premier Kenney saying municipalities cannot absorb further cutbacks or additional costs without significantly increasing taxes or cutting back essential services.
“Municipalities are sounding the alarm, but the UCP refuses to listen,” said NDP Municipal Affairs Critic Joe Ceci. “They’re taking rural Alberta for granted and aren’t being honest about the true cost of their cuts.”
Notley added that beyond issues identified by the RMA and AUMA, the increased government take on ticket revenue is having an impact in some communities. Additionally, changes to the Alberta Community Transit Fund, Green Transit Incentives Program, Municipal Water/Wastewater Program, and Alberta Community Resilience Program are impacting the province’s communities.
“It also doesn’t include additional costs from increased income taxes, school and busing fees, auto insurance, and tuition from the UCP’s first budget,” Notley said. “Albertans should be very concerned about what’s still to come from the UCP in this week’s budget.”
The NDP called on the government to release a municipality-by-municipality accounting of the full cost to property taxpayers as a result of 2019 Budget cuts.
The UCP will table its 2020 Budget on Feb. 27.