Mayoral candidate Andre Chabot, on the challenges facing Calgary
'Strengthening Calgary’s economy is one of the most significant challenges council will have to face'
Editor's Note: As part of our coverage for the Oct. 16 civic election, CBC Calgary has offered each candidate for the office of mayor the opportunity to write up to 700 words on our website, outlining what they believe to be the greatest challenges facing our city, and what they would do about those challenges if elected. These articles are run as submitted — edited only to meet CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices. This article is part of that series. The CBC's primary goal through our election coverage is to provide citizens with the information they need to make an informed decision on polling day.
Council has to find greater efficiencies and live within their means.
Just as businesses need to find efficiencies, so should Council. I am known for looking line-by- line at our expenses, finding greater efficiencies and cost savings.
With over 12 years of experience on Council, I've been recognized as a fiscally responsible and detail oriented member. I have an in-depth understanding of our expenses and our revenue streams. I know where we have flexibility to spend and have solutions on how to further reduce the burden on taxpayers.
As Mayor, I will lead by example and make the following tax promises to Calgarians:
- Keep tax increase at or below inflation. I pledge that I will not increase property taxes greater than inflation.
- No more taking the tax room. I will never vote in favour of taking the provinces' tax space.
- No new taxes. Regardless of what authority the new city charter gives the Mayor, I will not support any new fee or tax.
If elected Mayor, I will continue to advocate for higher financial accountability by both Council and City Administration, to make the best use of residential and business property taxes and continue to move the City forward with cautious optimism by having the City live within its means.
Need to strengthen Calgary businesses and encourage new innovation and investment
Strengthening Calgary's economy is one of the most significant challenges Council will have to face next term. The City of Calgary needs to encourage new businesses, and improve and simplify the process to set-up shop.
We used to rely on big companies, especially the oil and gas sector to shoulder a large part of our non-residential property tax. With the economic downturn, we can no longer bank on that revenue which has pushed more of the non‐residential tax burden to small business.
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We need to work with the province to give us the authority to create specific categories for different types of businesses (ie. restaurants, retail, commercial office and industrial) to minimize the shift in taxes from one sector to another.
What this means to small business owners is that during tough economic times the incremental property tax would not be as drastic, regardless of what occurs in non‐residential sectors; they would not see a huge increase year-over- year which they are currently experiencing.
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If elected Mayor, I will hire someone out of my office budget who would be directly connected with Calgary Economic Development, Alberta Economic Development, The Calgary Chamber of Commerce and other business development groups. They would be dedicated solely to finding new business investments as well as diversifying and strengthening businesses in Calgary.
I would also strive to make the City's approval processes quicker and enable an environment for our City planners and approvals officers to think outside the box, to encourage new and innovative business ideas, rather than making every project fit into one sized box.