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“Red Deer Revitalization Society” urges city to move homeless population away from downtown


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This letter submitted by the Red Deer Revitalization Society

The Red Deer Revitalization Society is a group of approximately 40 concerned Red Deer business people.

A few years ago, a collection of concerned members of the Downtown Red Deer Business Community came together after the drug-addicted and homeless population were crippling their operations. These meetings took place concurrently with the City and Provincial initiatives to establish safe injection sites, permanent shelters, and other similar institutions. The volume of people in Red Deer who require assistance makes it obvious that there is a need for these services. The problem however is with their location. We write this to help motivate the relocation of the permanent shelter from the proposed 4934 54 th Ave site.

We are of the view that this proposed site will have two disastrous consequences. First, an increase in residential property tax rates. Second, the slaying of the City’s Capstone Development. A recent history of the Downtown shows that the business community and the homeless and drug-addicted community cannot peacefully coexist. This is – and has been – an underappreciated concern that affects everyone in the City of Red Deer. Over the last 15 years, Downtown Red Deer has witnessed a mass exodus of businesses. The once thriving Downtown core has become repulsive. In speaking with colleagues who have vacated the Downtown, their motivation is always taxes and vagrancy. Who can
blame them? It is difficult to attract enough customers to cover the tax bill (and other costs) when their front door is littered with drug paraphernalia and loiterers. The trend shows that a concentration of social services forsakes the area where they are located and thus surrounding businesses will take their investments elsewhere. This exclusion of business is dangerous for all of us.

Most people do not appreciate how the City makes ends meet. We all know that taxes must be collected – but how does the City determine which property owner pays what? The owners of all properties, whether commercial or residential, pay tax at an amount that is determined using various formulae which all boil down to the property’s true value. Historically, the commercial properties in Downtown Red Deer were valuable enough and producing enough revenue that they bore the brunt of the taxes. But what happens now? The exodus of business replaced with social chaos renders the Downtown Properties valueless. If the owners of these properties cannot be asked to maintain the City’s reserves, the City will have no choice but to look elsewhere. Unfortunately, residential owners will have to see their property taxes increase dramatically for the City to run. The proposed permanent shelter location is yet another mainstay for drug use and vagrancy in a downtown that is nearly dead. This will likely be the last nail in Downtown’s coffin and a direct cause of increased residential property taxes.

Another underappreciated concern is the viability of the City’s Capstone Development. The perpetual bare piece of prime real estate is the City’s crown jewel. It presents a unique opportunity to rejuvenate the Downtown and neglected Red Deer Riverfront (another letter to the editor is required to discuss the City’s squandering of opportunity in the Capstone area over the past 25 years). The proposed permanent shelter is in the shadow of the Capstone Development – where the City has invested a tremendous amount of money. In fact, some say that the City has already invested upwards of $42 Million in the Capstone Development, which is being branded as a business and family-driven part of
town. If that’s the goal, how could it possibly make sense to put a permanent shelter right beside it? We appreciate that services like homeless shelters and safe injection sites are unfavourable, and people generally have the “not in my back yard sentiment”. However, if you sit back and allow City Council to locate the shelter at 4934 54 th Ave., you will see Capstone remain undeveloped, you will continue to see the mass exodus of businesses from downtown Red Deer and you will see a significant increase in your residential property taxes.

How can you ensure that your residential property taxes decrease instead of increase? Contact City Council and your elected MLA’s and tell them that you disapprove of 4934 54 th Ave., and any other downtown location, being chosen for the permanent shelter. Time is of the essence.

Red Deer Revitalization Society

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Carbon tax costs Canadian economy billions

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 

This tax costs Canadians big time at the gas pump, on home heating bills, on the farm and at the dinner table.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the federal government to scrap the carbon tax in light of newly released government data showing the tax will cost the Canadian economy about $25 billion in 2030.

“Once again, we see the government’s own data showing what hardworking Canadians already know: the carbon tax costs Canada big time,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “The carbon tax makes the necessities of life more expensive and it will cost our economy billions of dollars.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must scrap his carbon tax now.”

The government of Canada released modelling showing the cost of the carbon tax on the Canadian economy Thursday.

“The country’s GDP is expected to be about $25 billion lower in 2030 due to carbon pricing than it would be otherwise,”  reports the Globe and Mail.

Canada contributes about 1.5 per cent of global emissions.

Government data shows emissions are going up in Canada. In 2022, the latest year of data, emissions in Canada were 708 megatonnes of CO2, an increase of 9.3 megatonnes from 2021.

The federal carbon tax currently costs 17 cents per litre of gasoline, 21 cents per litre of diesel and 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas.

The carbon tax adds about $13 to the cost of filling up a minivan, about $20 to the cost of filling up a pickup truck and about $200 to the cost of filling up a big rig truck with diesel.

Farmers are charged the carbon tax for heating their barns and drying grains with natural gas and propane. The carbon tax will cost Canadian farmers $1 billion by 2030, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

“No matter how many times this government tries to put lipstick on the carbon tax pig, the reality is clear,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “This tax costs Canadians big time at the gas pump, on home heating bills, on the farm and at the dinner table. Trudeau should make life more affordable and improve the Canadian economy by scrapping his carbon tax.”

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New York and Vermont Seek to Impose a Retroactive Climate Tax

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From Heartland Daily News

By Joshua Loucks for the Cato Institute.

Energy producers will be subject to retroactive taxes in New York if the state assembly passes Senate Bill S2129A, known as the “Climate Change Superfund Act.” The superfund legislation seeks to impose a retroactive tax on energy companies that have emitted greenhouse gases (GHGs) and operated within the state over the last seventy years.

If passed, the new law will impose $75 billion in repayment fees for “historical polluters,” who lawmakers assert are primarily responsible for climate change damages within the state. The state will “assign liability to and require compensation from companies commensurate with their emissions” over the last “70 years or more.” The bill would establish a standard of strict liability, stating that “companies are required to pay into the fund because the use of their products caused the pollution. No finding of wrongdoing is required.”

New York is not alone in this effort. Superfunds built on retroactive taxes on GHG emissions are becoming increasingly popular. Vermont recently enacted similar legislation, S.259 (Act 122), titled the “Climate Superfund Act,” in which the state also retroactively taxes energy producers for historic emissions. Similar bills have also been introduced in Maryland and Massachusetts.

Climate superfund legislation seems to have one purpose: to raise revenue by taxing a politically unpopular industry. Under the New York law, fossil fuel‐​producing energy companies would be taxed billions of dollars retroactively for engaging in legal and necessary behavior. For example, the seventy‐​year retroactive tax would conceivably apply to any company—going back to 1954—that used fossil fuels to generate electricity or produced fuel for New York drivers.

The typical “economic efficiency” arguments for taxing an externality go out the window with the New York and Vermont approach, for at least two reasons. First, the goal of a blackboard or textbook approach to a carbon tax is to internalize the GHG externality. To apply such a tax accurately, the government would need to calculate the social cost of carbon (SCC).

Unfortunately, estimating the SCC is methodologically complex and open to wide ranges of estimates. As a result, the SCC is theoretically very useful but practically impossible to calculate with any reasonable degree of precision.

Second, the retroactive nature of these climate superfunds undermines the very incentives a textbook tax on externalities  would promote. A carbon tax’s central feature is that it is intended to reduce externalities from current and future activity by changing incentives. However, by imposing retroactive taxes, the New York and Vermont legislation will not impact emitters’ future behavior in a way that mimics a textbook carbon tax or improves economic outcomes.

Arbitrary and retroactive taxes can, however, raise prices for consumers by increasing policy uncertainty, affecting firm profitability, and reducing investment (or causing investors to flee GHG‐​emitting industries in the state altogether). Residents in both New York and Vermont already pay over 30 percent more than the US average in residential electricity prices, and this legislation will not lower these costs to consumers.

Climate superfunds are not a serious attempt to solve environmental challenges but rather a way to raise government revenue while unfairly punishing an entire industry (one whose actions the New York legislation claims “have been unconscionable, closely reflecting the strategy of denial, deflection, and delay used by the tobacco industry”).

Fossil fuel companies enabled GHG emissions, of course, but they also empowered significant growth, mobility, and prosperity. The punitive nature of the policy is laid bare by the fact that neither New York nor Vermont used a generic SCC or an evidentiary proceeding to calculate precise damages.

Finally, establishing a standard in which “no finding of wrongdoing is required” to levy fines against historical actions that were (and still are) legally permitted sets a dangerous precedent for what governments can do, not only to businesses that have produced fossil fuels but also to individuals who have consumed them.

Cato research associate Joshua Loucks contributed to this post.

Originally published by the Cato Institute. Republished with permission under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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