Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dan Lett - Municipal Patsy?

[as originally posted 11/24/08 on my formerly free thinking blog ]

So, according to Dan Lett, Premier Doer should reconsider the wisdom of not backing a new 1% municipal tax in Manitoba?

Good thing Lett has taken it upon himself to cut through the fog and set both we and the Premier straight on the matter. Good thing he has armed us with all we need to know to inform our opinions. By saying the infrastructure "crisis" is so dire that all concerned must back the new tax, he has framed the issue properly - or has he?

Curiously, he failed to consider the other side of the coin. After a decade (or more) in which our civic leaders (especially Winnipeg's) prided themselves on starving their treasuries of much needed property & business taxes in an effort to please the 'lower-taxes crowd' - why should we feel sorry for them now? Manitoba's municipal infrastructure deficit is hardly a breaking story; only the willfully blind (or politically manipulative) could possibly claim ignorance of an issue that has been forty years in the making. Yet, short-sighted councils have repeatedly lacked the gonadal gravitas required to be proactive and tell voters the truth; namely, that city & town councils already have the appropriate taxing power (i.e. property and business) to deal with some of the capital shortfalls needed to fix their roads, bridges, etc., Instead, they have routinely chosen to pander for votes, keep civic taxes unrealistically low, all the while blaming the Feds or the Province for their infrastructure problems.

Until Manitoba's Municipalities commit to allocating a significant percentage of their existing revenue stream towards any, and all, new infrastructure partnerships then they deserve not one damn cent of additional taxing power. Until they are honest and admit we all need to pay more property taxes for the infrastructure upon which our houses rest - a pox on theirs. Until they start to mandate clearer accounting rules, stop giving business concerns a tax-break at every turn, and stop using existing funds to subsidize things such as sweet-assed parking-lot deals then they deserve nothing!

Doer may not always be right- but in this instance his instincts are serving him well. I would not trust Winnipeg City council to manage new funds any better than the manage their existing pennies - I do not trust them any further than I could throw Sam Katz's scrawny whining ass across the Red River.

No new tax!

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