Answer: We are committed to gradually shifting education funding to general provincial revenues and disconnecting it from the property tax system so that municipalities have exclusive access to their property tax base. The Alberta Party is also supportive of the AUMA’s call for a review of the tax assessment system in Alberta.
The property tax system, being the single most significant revenue source for municipalities in this province, and the fairness of the distribution of the property tax burden (the property assessment system) have been a concern of municipalities for some time.
The Alberta Party recognizes the pressures resulting from growth and the fact that municipalities do not have the resources under the current legislation to deal with these pressures. We believe that part of the overall issue relating to the lack of municipal resources relates to problems with the current assessment and taxation system in place in Alberta. In addition there are concerns relating to the administration of the assessment and taxation function at the provincial level. All of these areas need to be addressed as part of the financial capacity challenges that all municipalities are faced with in Alberta under the current structure.
Question: What are your plans for long‐range, sustainable, predictable capital funding for the large cities?
Answer: We are committed to ensuring municipalities have access to stable, adequate and predictable funding. The Alberta Party will shift from 3‐year budget cycles to 5‐year cycles to ensure more long‐term planning can happen. We will also explore alternative ways for cities to raise their own revenues, so that they are less dependent on provincial funding and are more able to accurately budget for their needs.
Question: Specifically, what sources of revenue are you willing to share with Calgary and Edmonton?
Answer: We are committed to gradually shifting property taxes so that municipalities have exclusive access, and to creating fairer alternatives to the property tax system.
Question: What are your plans for the education portion of the property tax?
Answer: To gradually shift education funding away from the property tax system so municipalities have exclusive access to the tax base.
Question: What are your thoughts on the future of existing infrastructure programs, including the MSI?
Answer: MSI has allowed a number of worthwhile and necessary projects to move ahead. However, MSI funding needs to be more predictable from year to year. It is not appropriate to allow a city to begin a major project, with the budget projecting funding increases, only to reduce the funds available the next year without any transparent formula followed. In order to do long term planning for major infrastructure projects such as major ring roads and rapid transit lines there must be long term, predictable and adequate funding partnerships in place.
The Alberta Party supports a more accountable and transparent method for MSI funding, in addition, the Alberta Party supports the continuation of GreenTrip funding.
Alberta Party official website - www.albertaparty.ca