The Canada West Foundation is a leading voice on issues related to municipal finance and infrastructure. Key reports include:
• The Penny Tax: A Timely Tax Innovation to Boost Our Civic Investment – This report measures the projected infrastructure needs facing western Canadian seven biggest cities over the next ten years at over $40 billion. To help these cities close the gap between their infrastructure needs and the funding dollar available, research shows that a small locally-levied sales tax dedicated to municipal infrastructure could be the most visible, transparent and accountable tax in Canada.
• Problematic Property Tax - Why the Property Tax Fails to Measure Up and What to Do About It – This report examines property tax from a number of different vantage points and suggests that while property tax may have served our cities in the past it is no longer up to the task.
• Delivering the Goods: Infrastructure and Alternative Revenue Sources for the City in Edmonton – This report discusses the infrastructure gap facing the City of Edmonton. The report assesses the City’s current capacity and presents alternative financing and funding options to better meet the infrastructure need.
• Dollars and Sense II: Big City Finances in Western Canada 1990-2007 – This report provides an overview of the key fiscal trends affecting six of western Canada’s large cities from 1990-2007. The results include a review of budgets, borrowing and debt, expenditures and revenues.
• New Tools for New Times: A Sourcebook for the Financing, Funding and Delivery of Urban Infrastructure – This report outlines infrastructure financing methods that are both traditional and innovative, the applicability of these methods, and the role government plays in advancing their use.
• Rationale for Renewal: The Imperatives Behind a New Big City-Provincial Partnership – This report outlines the basic principles that would lead to a renewed relationship between big cities and their provincial governments.
• Straight Talk: Property Taxes in Western Canada’s Big Six – This report is a comprehensive analysis of municipal property taxes is six western Canadian cities. It explores the advantages, disadvantages, distributions, history and trends of municipal property taxes.
• Big Spenders? An Expenditure Profile of Western Canada’s Big Six – This report analyzes the composition, history, trends and future implications of spending in large western Canadian cities.
• Foundations for Prosperity: Creating a Stable Municipal Provincial Partnership to Meet Infrastructure Challenge of Alberta’s 2nd Century - Centered upon the issue of inadequate municipal infrastructure funding, this report brings to light an operational definition to the problem and provides recommendations that will enable the development of a sustainable solution to ensure we can retain the quality of life of Canadian cities.
• No Time to be Timid: Addressing Infrastructure Deficits in the Western Big Six – This report identifies alternatives for financing municipal infrastructure. It calls for systemic reform of municipal finance to achieve a more sustainable solution.
• A Capital Question: Infrastructure in Canada’s Big Six – This report examines recent estimates of infrastructure deficits and debt in six western Canadian cities. It addresses where the deficit resides, how cities plan on tackling the issue and what the cost of failing to act would be.
• Big City Revenue Sources: A Canada US Comparison of Municipal Tax Tools and Revenue Levers – This report explores the fiscal dilemma currently confronting cities by undertaking a comparative assessment of the various tax tools and revenue levers available to six large western Canadian municipalities and similar cities in the US.
• Framing a Fiscal Fix-Up: Options for Strengthening the Finances of Western Canada’s Big Cities – This report provides a map for the different roads that can lead to a more secure fiscal situation in municipalities.
The Living West
• Tools of the Trade: Urban Environmental Improvement Options – This report explores the tools that can improve environmental outcomes in cities. These tools fall within five general categories: landscape and ecology, urban design, transportation, water management, and energy use.
• The Artistry of the Rain Barrel – This blog addresses how to improve environmental decisions in cities by implementing good ideas that already exist.
• Not Just for Green Thumbs: Composting in the Urban Environment – This blog discusses how composting can be a tool that individuals, communities, and cities can use as a way to improve the urban environment.
• Out of the Lab and Into the Street: Innovative Infrastructure Ideas – This blog provides an overview the 2012 National Infrastructure Summit, highlighting the discussion of moving infrastructure innovation from the idea stage to implementation.
• Livability is Great if You Have the Cash – This blog offers insight on the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) list of the world's most livable cities, and highlights the list's shortcoming of failing to consider of the opportunity to make a living.