This week, Wildrose Shadow Municipal Affairs Minister Pat Stier challenged the government to restore the cancelled Grants in Lieu of Taxes Program, which pays for the important municipal and social housing facilities vulnerable Albertans need.
The previous government’s budget included cancelling the Grants in Lieu of Taxes Program on social and senior housing facilities, with the NDP government refusing to restore the costs of these services that are now downloaded onto municipalities.
This decision has hit the bottom line for cities across the province, such as $5 million in lost revenue for Calgary, $913,000 for Lethbridge, $186,000 for Slave Lake, $75,000 for Lacombe and $50,000 for St. Paul, as well as numerous others.
“Cancelling the Grants in Lieu of Taxes Program is an irresponsible move that is forcing municipalities to consider putting a moratorium on all newly proposed applications for social and senior housing in their communities,” Stier said. “This is a core responsibility of government, and it’s irresponsible for the NDP to not pay their fair share of taxes, while raising billions of dollars in new taxes off of businesses and families.”
Neither Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson nor Premier Rachel Notley committed to restore funding for this program in Question Period this week.
“It simply isn’t fair for the NDP to shirk off its responsibilities to our municipalities when they’re raising taxes on everyone else,” Stier said. “Albertans deserve a real commitment in this budget, but sadly it looks like the NDP won’t stick up for our communities.”