Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Official Tax Increase "Spin" Has Begun

Staff 'Spins' Reason You Should Be Happy
With Only another 4.2% Tax Increase

Well, it is that time of year again when Mr. Clemens at city hall explains to taxpayers how great a job they are doing by introducing a financial plan calling for only another $100 being removed from your pocket. 

The Nanaimo Bulletin ( the local shopper) carries the message on their front page that "Three projects account for 2011 tax hike"; the article then goes on to explain that there would be no tax increases except for three projects. The three projects which they go on to list are $846,000 for more RCMP, $440,000 for Chase River staff and $1.3 million for the Quarterway Bridge and Bowen Road expansion.

The 'spin' of course is the fact that the Finance Director at city hall has chosen to mention three items which most people would deem as necessary, after all who is against public safety (police and fire) and needed infrastructure repair (a bridge). While it is true that these items do add up to an amount equal to the tax increase, you could also say that if over $1,000,000 was not paid to the VICC and over $500,000 was not paid to the Port Theatre, then the Quarterway bridge would have no impact on taxes. You could also go on to say that if $300,000 (at least) was not going to be spent putting new street lights in Cilaire, and $300,000 were not being given to the Downtown Business Assoc. the impact of the staff at Chase River fire hall would not affect the budget either.

You could also say that if Mr. Berry had not been paid $500,000 because he wanted to retire early, the impact of more RCMP would have been lessened. The idea of separating three items, which are perhaps more palatable to the public and saying they are the reason for the tax increase, while not untrue, can also be classed as misleading.

In simple terms the reason taxpayers are going to have to cough up another 4.2% is because city council and city staff simply keep spending more money than current levels of taxation will allow.

This coming Monday night at city council you should either attend or watch via Shaw cable or the Internet from the city website as Mr. Clemens will be making his presentation of the 2011 - 2015 financial plan (which so far calls for a tax increase of 20% and user fees increase of 25%), during which he will be sure to tell all those listening that it is only these three items accounting for the tax increase.

You will notice a pattern over the coming months, as once again council struggles with the budget that city staff presents. Staff will present 'cuts' which council will not make because of political pressure. But among those cuts, you will never see a suggestion to look for savings by reducing the cost of staffing at city hall. One of those reasons could be the fact that 157 staffers are management, who account for $15,700,000.00 of your tax dollars, and would never suggest their salaries or numbers be reduced to reflect current economic reality.

Anyone who swallows that logic hook, line and sinker should not respond to any ads for swamp land in Florida.

allvoices

1 comment:

  1. You hit it right on the head. If their track record is any indication, watch them get that 4.2% down to under 4% and then claim what a great job they've done. They have used this deception every year for as long as I can remember.

    ReplyDelete

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