City should tax businesses by revenue, not property, mayor says

Businesses in the city should pay tax according to their revenues, not the size of their properties, Calgary’s mayor says.

Naheed Nenshi says new taxation system would require new powers from province

Mayor Naheed Nenshi told a lunchtime crowd at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday that it's time to change the way the businesses are taxed by the municipality. (CBC)

Businesses in the city should pay tax according to their revenues, not the size of their properties, Calgary’s mayor says.

Naheed Nenshi floated the idea at a luncheon at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.   

The city would need new powers from the provincial government in order to implement such a system, Nenshi said.

“It's just not a fair way to tax businesses but it's all we've got so I'm really hoping that as we move on in our city charter discussions and talk about revenue sources, we spend a special time talking about business revenue, remembering that property tax isn't just about residences," he said.

If the change were made, some businesses would pay less tax than they do now, but some would pay more, the mayor said.

But the purpose of changing the tax system would be to make it fairer, not to increase tax revenue, he said.

Nenshi said final discussions with the province about establishing city charters for Alberta’s two biggest cities — giving them new powers and responsibilities — will be resuming soon.

“You know, everything’s on the table. And I would be really interested to hear from the business community," Nenshi said.

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