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Updated: 2nd February 2020 14:50 Calgary

Council to look at 4th year of 'one-time' rebates for business property taxes

Calgary businesses could see another so-called "one-time" rebate to soften the blow of property tax increases for the fourth year in a row.

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Committee voted in favour of spending $30M to limit tax hikes to no more than 10%

Council's priorities and finance committee voted in support of spending $30-million to ease tax hikes for business property owners. It'll go before council for a vote in February. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Calgary businesses could see another so-called "one-time" rebate to soften the blow of property tax increases for the fourth year in a row.

Council's priorities and finance committee voted 4-3 on Tuesday in favour of a $30-million rebate for business property owners that would limit tax hikes to no more than 10 per cent. 

Councillors Sean Chu, Druh Farrell and Evan Woolley voted with Mayor Naheed Nenshi in favour, while councillors Jyoti Gondek, Jeromy Farkas and Ward Sutherland voted against. 

The money comes from leftover funds from past rebate programs and the city's fiscal stability reserve. If approved when presented to council, 5,071 properties would be eligible. 

In 2019, the city approved $130.9 million for the rebate, following $41 million in 2018 and $45 million in 2017.

"Don't say no to this," Nenshi urged before the vote, saying some businesses could see tax hikes of 17 per cent if the motion were defeated.

City administration said downtown property values have somewhat stabilized from the decline seen in recent years. In November, council voted to shift some of the burden from business to residential property owners. 

Gondek argued that what is truly needed is major structural change in city operational spending, or, she said, rebates would continue to be needed.

"I'm a homeowner. What if homeowners gather together and said, 'hey, you increased my taxes by increasing the shift, where's my rebate?' Then what? Do we suddenly cobble together a solution for homeowners?" she asked.

The rebate will now go before council for discussion in February. 

With files from Scott Dippel

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