Municipal finance and spending ranks third
Despite a hot provincial economy, Calgary business owners have more than a few things keeping them up at night, according to an annual survey by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
The unpredictable global economic climate tops the priorities of Chamber members, who are unsure how the fallout from international events like the European debt crisis will impact them here in Alberta.
“While dealing with the unpredictable economic environment continues to be a top concern going into 2012, Calgary businesses are also struggling to attract and retain talent,” said Ben Brunnen, director of policy and government affairs and chief economist with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
“This creates the very unique challenge of having to embrace growth in the face of global economic uncertainty.”
The 2012 priorities of Calgary Chamber members, which will inform the Chamber’s policy and advocacy activities throughout the year, are:
1. Economic climate
2. Workforce and immigration
3. Municipal affairs
4. Tax and fiscal management
5. Regulatory enhancement
Municipal affairs is the third priority of Calgary Chamber members – up from fourth place in 2011. Concerns centre on municipal finance and spending, increasing Calgary’s liveability and strategic infrastructure investments, according to Brunen.
Regulatory enhancement enters into the top priorities for the first time in 2012.
“One thing all governments can do to strengthen the economy is eliminate barriers to business success,” said Brunnen. “Poorly designed regulation can be a real cost to business, and reducing red tape encourages economic growth.”
Brunen says that throughout 2012 the Chamber will develop policy solutions and raise awareness of business issues to address member priorities.
“In the coming weeks we will release Great Alberta, which is a report full of solutions to public policy challenges that will make life better for businesses in Alberta. We hope these suggestions will shape the policy discussions in the upcoming provincial election,” he said.
The survey was conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of the Calgary Chamber from December 12, 2011 to January 20, 2012.
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce represents over 3,200 members and advocates public policy solutions it believes will improve the business climate on behalf of its members.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Markham began his journalism career writing columns in the mid-1980s for Western People Magazine, then reported for a small Saskatchewan daily. He has spent most of his career in media and communications, likes to dabble in politics, was actively involved in economic development for many years, thinks that what goes on in the community is just as important as what happens provincially and nationally, and has a soft spot for small business (big business, not so much). Markham is a bit of a contrarian and usually has a unique take on the events of the day.