Pubdate: Fri, 08 Dec 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: Annalise Klingbeil
Page: A1


Nenshi wants share of federal tax revenues

The legalization of recreational marijuana will cost the city of
Calgary more than $10 million annually in policing, bylaw and
administration costs - a tab the mayor wants the federal government to
ease by giving municipalities a one-third share of tax revenues from
pot sales.

Council's Intergovernmental Affairs Committee heard Thursday that
administration's latest estimates peg the price of cannabis
legalization on city coffers at between $9 million and $12 million
every year - the equivalent of about a one per cent increase in
property taxes annually.

"This is a very big deal," Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters after
the committee meeting. "We've not padded this number, we've really
gone through and found where the costs are going to be. Some of them
are in policing, some of them are in city operations like building
inspections, zoning and so on." The Trudeau government is legalizing
recreational cannabis in July and has pitched giving provincial
governments half of its estimated $1-billion annual cannabis excise
tax take once weed becomes legal.

But given the financial burden the new rules will put on
municipalities, Calgary's mayor is adamant the city needs a share of
the federal government's tax revenues.

"We're looking north of $10 million a year, so it's incredibly
important that any revenue that is gained from cannabis sales, the
excise tax on cannabis sales, be shared directly with the
municipalities," the mayor said. The Federation of Canadian
Municipalities has pitched a revenue-sharing model that would allocate
one-third of cannabis excise tax revenues to municipalities, with the
remaining two-thirds split between the federal and provincial
governments - a model Nenshi supports. "That makes a lot of sense.
That's what we're pushing for," Nenshi said.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities President Jenny Gerbasi said in
a statement released Wednesday that local governments are on the front
lines of implementing the federal legislation and the one-third split
is "fair and achievable."

"A smart revenue model will recognize that three orders of government
are in this together," Gerbasi said in the statement.

The mayor said in recent days the feds have shown they're willing to
be flexible on the revenuesharing model and he's hopeful a solution
will be reached.

"Ideally, it would be a situation where some of that federal tax money
flows directly to the municipality and doesn't have to stop off at the
province on the way," he said.

The council committee also heard Thursday the city has so far received
11,800 responses to its online survey seeking input from Calgary
residents on various issues related to the looming

While the city is waiting on the province for more details surrounding
areas of legalization such as the licensing and zoning of marijuana
stores, the city expects stores to open in less than seven months.

"We're doing our best to ensure businesses would have the ability to
open their doors come July," Matt Zabloski, the lead for the City of
Calgary's cannabis legalization project, told the council committee.
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MAP posted-by: Matt