Councillor touts study on projected tax income related to new arena, for other levels of government
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 6:24PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:03PM MST
As the City continues to work on filling a $100 million funding gap for the downtown arena, one City Councillor believes a study outlines the projected windfall the federal and provincial governments could garner – but only if they support it.
“There’s a very logical reason for them to invest,” Councillor Amarjeet Sohi said, referring to an economic impact study he requested that includes an outline of the tax revenue the two higher levels of government could collect from the new arena.
The two page study, called ‘Economic Impact of New Arena in Downtown Edmonton’ includes a breakdown of the tax impacts on municipal, provincial and federal governments.
According to the study, the construction of a new downtown arena in Edmonton would translate to more than $63 million for the federal government in taxes, and more than $36 million for the provincial government.
The city would collect more than $800,000 in taxes.
“Every time we do something in this city, the province and federal government reaps huge benefits,” Mayor Stephen Mandel said Thursday. “You build a project that has $300 million in wages, who gets the taxes from those wages?
“Duh, it goes to the province and the feds.”
As it stands now, the project is still over $100 million short – money the city said administration has asked the province to cover, while the premier has maintained the provincial government won’t directly fund it.
Premier Alison Redford has said in the past the only way provincial money will be used for the project is through MSI grants.
In addition, the federal government has said it won’t cover the shortfall either.
“Our role is to invest in healthcare, education, national defence,” MP James Rajotte said in a phone interview. “We did decide to not fund professional sports facilities, and we decided to do that on a national basis.”
However, Sohi said while both levels of government could gain from the project – there’s a lot on the line if the project doesn’t move forward without that funding.
“If the downtown arena is not built for whatever reason, federal government is not going to get $63 million dollars in taxes, province is not going to get $36 million in taxes,” Sohi said.
A master agreement on the new arena is expected to go before council in March.
With files from Bill Fortier