With a municipal election 44 days away, campaign rhetoric is heating up, and candidates are laying their hope of electoral bliss in the success of their platform.
In the past week, two mayoral hopefuls, Wayne Stewart and Alnoor Kassam have made fiscal pledges with a direct effect on City of Calgary coffers.
Wednesday, Stewart promised to freeze property taxes if elected, and at last Sunday’s mayoral shin-dig, held by the Calgary Leadership Forum, Kassam said he’d resign as mayor if he didn’t deliver to city taxpayers a 2.5 per cent annual reduction in property taxes.
Current alderman and mayoral hopeful Bob Hawkesworth said promises like a tax freeze could jeopardize funding of a variety of city programs, including the police budget.
“These are just rash promises that people are making with no thought or understanding of the consequences,” said Hawkesworth.
“It’s either ideological or inexperience — or both — that people are making promises that will be virtually impossible to keep.”
With provincial funding agreements in place, like the recently rubber-stamped police funding that’s contingent on maintaining full service levels, politicians could be saddled with yesterday’s decisions — impacting today’s political promises.
“We’ll live with agreements that have been made (by the council of the day),” said Stewart, who supports improved safety and security in the city.
“I believe that we can accommodate those agreements and still meet the promise I made (Wednesday). Our approach will be to find efficiencies.”
Stewart said he’ll work with Calgarians.
Mayoral hopefuls make big pledges