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Affordable housing, provincial property taxes, and more; Mayor Nenshi responds to 2020 budget

Last Updated Feb 27, 2020 at 7:38 pm MST

(Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Mayor Naheed Nenshi provided his input on the 2020 budget Thursday afternoon.

The Calgary Mayor had both positive and negative things to say.

Among some of his concerns were cuts to affordable housing and property taxes being raised for Albertans.

“There weren’t a ton of surprises, but there was one big one,” Nenshi said. “That really big surprise was a cut of $53 million to funding for maintenance of affordable housing.”

Nenshi says he is shocked by the cuts, and it is a very odd area for the province to make adjustments to.

“Without question, this means we are going close affordable housing units at a point when we need 15,000 more affordable housing units,” Nenshi said. “It might mean we’ll have to close entire buildings.”

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An increase in provincial property taxes also concerned Mayor Nenshi because Albertans will see the increase from November as well as a 3.4 per cent increase for this year.

Nenshi was also less than pleased with what taxes the government is adjusting for themselves.

“The province has also decided they’re going to pay less taxes on their buildings unilaterally,” Nenshi said. “So last year they cut the amount of taxes they’re paying by two million, none of the rest of us has the right to do that, and this year they’re going to cut that by another $2.5 million”

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It wasn’t all negative from the Calgary Mayor though.

“Good credit to the province for increasing their capital plan on the Bow River Flood Mitigation work by $15 million,” Nenshi said. “That will help us accelerate the work to protect the city from flooding on the Bow River.”

He was also happy to hear about some increases to entertainment funding in Alberta.

“The recently introduced Film and Television Tax Credit has been increased over the next three years, and that gives me some great ammunition as I go off to India as we try to attract more filming, talent, and more filming projects here to Calgary.”

As for oil and gas, Nenshi says it seems that’s been the focus of every budget he can remember. He says he believes we need to move into a world where we aren’t always relying on the price of oil.

“The availability of a family doctor shouldn’t depend on West Texas Intermediate.”