Submitted as an Opinion by Calvin Goulet-Jones
1.89% Tax increase you say? I beg to differ.
Every Spring the city sends out a news release stating how much the city has increased our property taxes. Have you noticed something off with your taxes over the last few years? Now before we get into it, note that the city collects taxes in three ways. First they collect your property tax, next they collect the provincial education property tax, and third they collect the piper creek foundation taxation levy which I believe goes to seniors’ housing. The increases I am going to refer to take out the education and piper creek amounts as the city isn’t on control of those and focusses specifically on the tax revenue collected for the city.
In 2017 (May 1 to be exact) the City put out a news release saying the combined taxation increase was 1.1% for that year
In 2018 (April 30) the City put out a news release saying the combined tax increase was 1.5% for that year
In 2019 (April 29) the City put out a news release saying the combined tax increase was 1.89% for this year.
If you are like me you pay close attention to your taxes. I noticed an extreme variation between what the City News release stated and what we are actually taxed. And in case you’re wondering, no, the variation is not because of property value swings.
Now hold onto your seat here.
Red Deer Council (who seem to have smiles plastered on their faces every time they announce the tax rate increase) are either extremely ignorant or purposely deceptive as the property tax increases that you and I receive are not at all what they announce.
When the city announces what the tax rate increase is, they are not actually announcing the tax rate, they are announcing the Budget Increase. This may seem somewhat similar but it is not especially In a city who’s growth has stagnated, and where businesses are fleeing downtown causing the tax base to decrease substantially. If you lose 2% of your revenue and increase your budget by 2% you have to make up that difference and that is done in the real tax rate which is called the Mill Rate.
Red Deer’s administrations position (as sent to me in an email) is that “Mill rate changes are not indicative of tax rates”. Nothing could be further from the truth as your taxes are calculated by the Mill rate multiplied by your homes assessed value. When you are paying significantly more per $1000 of your house’s value than what they announce, you know that their statement that the mill rate not being indicative of tax rates is full of bologna.
Lets look deeper where you will see Red Deer’s Mill rate increasing since the beginning of the largest recession our province has seen in a generation. The increases are mind blowing.
Unbeknownst to many the 1.89% announced this year does not reflect the actual increases. The actual Mill rate increase was not 1.89% (remember this is just the city portion) it was a whopping 4.85%. That’s right,but still barely scratching the surface. In 2018, Red Deer’s 1.5% increase announcement was actually a 4.323% Mill rate increase. In 2017, the city’s 1.1% announcement was actually a 4.611% increase!
To give some context Red Deer’s Population growth since 2015 has officially shrunk, we recorded 100807 people in 2015. The latest data has us at 99,832. Inflation since 2015 has been 6.21%, and Albertas GDP since 2015 has grown by less than 1%. The popular line during elections is that we are going to tax population growth + inflation. Well that only works if you actually follow through. The actual tax increases we have experienced since 2015 have been nearly THREE TIMES inflation + population growth. Since 2015 Red Deer residents have seen a whopping 17.014% increase, which is a 10.8% higher increase beyond inflation and population growth and it appears to me that council believes they have done a good job here. What a joke.
Red Deerians know full well how hard this recession has hit us. Many of us are easily down 10% in our earnings and many more are down 20%, 30%, some even 40% in their yearly earnings since 2015. This doesn’t even include those who have been affected by unemployment. Council owes it to Red Deerians to do better and frankly Red Deerians owe it to themselves to ensure that in 2021 more than just 29% of the electorate show up to vote.
Was the quick evolution of Draisaitl from prospect to standout THE biggest on-ice element in this positive building project?
It was a little more than three years ago when Wayne Gretzky predicted the Edmonton Oilers were on their way to big improvement in the National Hockey League.
And he did it in one simple sentence: “We’ll be a really good team when the big guy decides he wants to run his own line.”
Now it’s obvious that “the big guy” was, and is, Leon Draisaitl. Gretzky’s words came as a team-wide selection of alleged experts insisted the Oilers would reach their peak if then-coach Todd McLellan would leave Draisaitl and the remarkable Connor McDavid as allies on the same forward line long enough to allow some solid second- and third-line players to become consistently valuable.
The operative words in Gretzky’s sentence — “decides to” — became memorable only after Draisaitl matured enough to recognize his own potential. The specific turning point from bright prospect to budding superstar Is impossible to define precisely, but it certainly happened last season.
Until then, the German youngster remained only an intriguing prospect. He operated comfortably, and often effectively, with McDavid doing most of the work, getting almost all the attention and still scoring points at a ridiculous level
To state the obvious once again, Draisaitl’s status as scoring champion and likely winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player has erased any fear that he might fall short of the potential that showed in his junior career.
Now, he faces another step: showing his dominance — on his own line much of the time and in partnership with McDavid on Edmonton’s ominous power play. The Chicago Blackhawks are certain to see brilliance from their offensive co-leaders through at least three first-round playoff games, and perhaps as many as five games.
Since almost the moment, months ago,when commissioner Gary Bettman’s dream of completing a Stanley Cup playoff was first circulated, respect has grown for the Oilers as potential champions — this year, not next year.
Coach Dave Tippett and general manager Ken Holland have been extremely strategic in their public utterances: “sure we’re good, but we’re still growing,” is a shared outlook. Holland, in particular, has been cautious. His years of success as the operational head of the Detroit Red Wings showed him that depth and experience are essential to reach the top of any competitive ladder.
The season-long improvement of defender Ethan Bear and winger Kailer Yamamoto has done much to improve team depth, back and front. Evan Bouchard, Phil Broberg and Caleb Jones are all nearing regular play on a big-league blueline crew. Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Ostap Safin show similar signs up front.
These future additions make it obvious the Oilers have potential as serious candidates, both short- and long-term.
Was the quick evolution of Draisaitl from prospect to standout THE biggest on-ice element in this positive building project? It’s hard to argue otherwise.
Alberta now sits at the children’s table?
It was but a few years ago, I felt that Alberta was sitting at the adult table. We were participating in adult conversations, looking for adult solutions to adult issues. Not anymore.
Not only does it seem like we are sitting at the children’s table, but a table of some other generation and I would go so far as possibly, the table of some backward southern state.
In those same states, would they be insulted if you said they were like Alberta?
Investors, bankers, shareholders, fund managers and others are looking to invest in the future. Alberta appears to be only interested in the past investments.
Science, intellectuals, and human compassion are secondary to oil and gas. Disclosure: I made a lot of money in the O&G sector. The future is not oil & gas, though it is a vital industry it is only a sector of the economy and not “THE” economy.
I have contacts across this country, and I notice the nuances that suggest Alberta is sitting at the children’s table.
The fighting with doctors, nurses, teachers, environmentalists, high tech developers, arts & entertainment sectors, make life appear untenable for investors and professionals.
If you moved your company to Alberta, will the employees follow or stay behind with their education, health and recreational needs met?
Will you have to hire new employees and move them to Alberta? Will these employees be on the move when they start having children?
I talk to one Albertan who said she loved her community until her child turned 5. Another Albertan said she had an awakening when her career took her out of Alberta. One former Albertan laughed when I mentioned working remotely, at home, in Alberta. He said he couldn’t because he still needed to talk to other professionals.
In such a short time, I get the feeling that Alberta has been relegated to the children’s table.
Will we make it back to the adult table, or is that wishful thinking? Probably, at least for now.
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