Bill 21

Member of Legislative Assembly Report

By Tany Yao, MLA of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo

Tany Yao

Tany Yao

The NDP government recently introduced changes to the Municipal Government Act. These changes are scheduled to be passed in the spring of next year. As the MLAs for Fort McMurray Brian Jean and I consulted with the Mayor and Council of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). It was immediately clear that our community would face very serious challenges if the proposed changes to local tax structure were applied to RMWB. The reduction of our business to residential tax ratios from the current 18 to 1 down to the proposed 5 to 1 would be devastating for our community.

If we look back at the history of our community, our tax ratio evolved because the previous PC government did not give our region the support it so desperately required. Despite giving incentives and supporting Oilsands growth, the PC government gave no support to Fort McMurray to accommodate this growth. The RMWB rightly took steps to ensure the viability of our community and this resulted in our current taxation ratio being 18:1.

I am happy to report that the NDP government agreed to grandfather the RMWB and other communities whose tax ratios exceed 5 to 1. The law will allow RMWB to maintain their taxation ratios at their current rates, though they will not be allowed to go higher. We think this is a fair and balanced approach that is in the best interest of our community.

Tany Yao is the Wildrose Caucus Chair and Member of Legislative for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Yao can be reached by email at fortmcmurray.woodbuffalo@assembly.ab.ca or by phone at 780-790-6014.

– Connect Weekly –