Calgary

Calgary property tax bills to rise 6.1%, once provincial education tax is factored in

It looks like Calgarians will have to swallow a larger than expected increase in property taxes this year because of last week's provincial budget.

That's the result when you combine the city's increase of 3.5% and the province's 10.2%

Coun. Ward Sutherland, seen here in Calgary city council chambers, is not happy about the size of the provincial education component on this year's property tax bills. (CBC)

It looks like Calgarians will have to swallow a larger than expected increase in property taxes this year because of last week's provincial budget.

City council already approved a 3.5 per cent property tax hike for this year, but there's now also a 10.2 per cent increase in the province's education tax — which makes up about 40 per cent of property tax bills.

During a meeting Monday to discuss the impacts of the provincial budget, council heard that this will mean a total tax hike of 6.1 per cent on Calgary homeowners' spring property tax bills.

Coun. Ward Sutherland noted city council, by law, must run balanced budgets and said the province is making Calgarians pay for its deficits in a roundabout way.

"We don't run operating deficits; that's what they're doing," Sutherland said. "And we're paying for it. You've got to pay for it somehow, and it's a download tax through property tax, and it's the wrong way."

Calgary's chief financial officer Eric Sawyer said the tax bill on a typical home will increase by $14.15 per month, in total.

City council will finalize the property tax bills at a meeting next Monday.

Province estimates $2.4B in education tax

The Alberta government expects to take in $2.4 billion in education property tax in the current fiscal year, according to the budget documents released last week.

That's up 6.8 per cent from the year before.

The province notes its total share of property tax revenue has decreased since it took over the education tax in 1994.

At that point, education tax accounted for of 51 per cent of property tax collected across Alberta.

By 2014, that was down to 25 per cent.