CALGARY – Calgarians will pay more and receive less after Jason Kenney and the UCP broke a series of key promises in their first budget, said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley.
Budget 2019, tabled in the Alberta Legislature on Thursday, hikes income and property taxes, cuts education funding, raises tuition, eliminates tax credits for entrepreneurs, and slashes funding for major infrastructure projects such as the Green Line C-Train and much-needed upgrades to Deerfoot Trail.
“Jason Kenney and the UCP have betrayed the people of Calgary by presenting a bait-and-switch budget that breaks key promises to this city,” said Notley. “We knew we were going to see big cuts but what Mr. Kenney didn’t say was that Calgarians would be forced to bear the brunt of his bad decisions.”
While the UCP promised lower taxes, Albertans will have to pay $600 million more in personal income tax over the next four years as the UCP stops indexing tax brackets for the first time since 2001. The UCP’s Education Tax hike will also force the City of Calgary to raise property taxes, said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
In addition, delays and cuts to capital funding mean the Deerfoot Trail expansion is cut in half and the Green Line C-Train may be cancelled altogether, and by removing $300 million from the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, that project will likely be delayed. These decisions endanger more than 20,000 construction jobs in the city, hurt the city’s economy and fail to address population growth.
“The UCP promised Calgarians that they would lower taxes and continue building for the future. Instead, this Premier slashed dedicated funding to major projects, hiked property taxes and killed much-needed jobs in the city. It’s a betrayal of everything Jason Kenney promised the people of Calgary,” said Notley.
In addition, the UCP have frozen education funding, prompting exploding class sizes for kids and higher school and transportation fees – some as high as $360 – for working parents. School boards will receive $200 less per student; the equivalent of a two per cent cut.
Students at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal will face massive tuition hikes and higher interest rates on student loans. The budget also nickel-and-dimes Calgarians by hiking fees for vehicle registration, land titles and even museum entry.
UPAAE members photo op at the Alberta Legislature
UPAAE won the Best Parade Contingent Award at the Edmonton Filipino Fiesta 2019.
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, MP with UPAAE and partner orgs at Historya Event 2018
Bahay Kubo Series
UPAA Edmonton Secretary Kehrl Reyes (second from left) with (left to right) UPAA First Vice President Luis Rey I. Velasco, UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, and UPAA President Reynaldo C. Laserna (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO; retrieved from UP website, Sept 29, 2019)
Broken Promises to Calgary:
• Education Property Tax: Early estimates from the City of Calgary show the UCP is withholding $15.5 million in Education Property Tax revenues collected by the province. Mayor Naheed Nenshi estimated this will mean property tax increases of more than 1 per cent next year.
• Deerfoot Trail Expansion Cut: The UCP cut $268 million from the Deerfoot Trail expansion, endangering over 2,000 jobs, and failing to address traffic congestion and commute times. Additional lanes at Memorial Drive, 17 Avenue, Glenmore Trail, Southland Drive and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail will not be completed.
• Green Line Betrayal: The UCP cut $480 million in promised funding for the Green Line C-Train over the next four years. The project, estimated to create more than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs, is guaranteed to face significant delays and is “in jeopardy” of being built at all, said Mayor Nenshi.
• City Charter Cut: While the UCP voted in favour of the City Charter agreements and promised to “respect” the agreement in their platform, the UCP budget cuts $45 million in capital from Calgary, forcing the City of Calgary to either hike taxes or cut investments in fixing potholes, building bridges, upgrading public parks, and completing community recreation centres.
• New Transit Buses Cancelled: The UCP killed the Alberta Community Transit Fund, cancelling over $100 million in funding to the Calgary Metropolitan Region for 15 new light-rail vehicles and 52 Compressed Natural Gas buses.
• Tech and Innovation Tax Credits Cancelled: While Calgary’s downtown office district stood the most to gain from new tax credits to entrepreneurs and startups, the UCP cancelled all tax credits. The Investor Tax Credit in particular — leveraged $94 million in investment for small and mid-sized businesses — and supported new investments in Calgary’s business community.
• Calgary Cancer Centre: The UCP budget pushes back funding to build the Calgary Cancer Centre. Proponents say the delay signals a high likelihood the hospital will open short-staffed and under-funded.