Talk about future tax increases

A number of friends have sent me an email to let me know a letter to the Milton Canadian Champion editorial department was printed in this Friday’s paper. Thanks to everyone who noticed.

The letter is pretty much word for word what my last posting talked about and I’ve received a number of emails from people all over the town supporting my thoughts. What seems to get me the most is that there doesnt seem to be a sense of urgency on council to say “hey…this is wrong. We need to fix this now!”

There hasn’t been many voices on council talking about this. After this story was printed I had expected to read a few responses from councillors around the table with their views on the potential increase. Nothing.

Another week passes…still nothing. Why is the question? Why wouldn’t these individuals, trusted by the votes of Milton residents for a four year period NOT want to say something? Why isn’t there any outrage or a showing of concern at the impact this potential (and some would say inevitable) tax increase on people in Milton.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that things aren’t going swimmingly for our economy, and those of our neighbours to the south the United States. Gas is at all time highs and bouncing up and down on a weekly basis, putting incredible pressure on our budgets. The cost of food is increasing for many items in the store which lead to a further tightening of the belts. It just seems no one cares. Its all going to work itself out and the council will accept whatever town staff dishes out.

Some councillors in the past like Paul Schere and Colin Best (among some others) have been very vocal about what council is doing with the budgets, spending and other programs. Where are the voices now?

Is this catastrophic? Will this lead us down into the depths of dispair? Not likely. From an email I received last week, I was told I was being a bit too melodramatic with the potential impact of high municipal tax increases. Not so, because the Town is just one portion of the tax bill.

Town Council seems to forget there are 2 other levels of municipal government that have been sharpening their pencils to take more money out of the ONE taxpayer. The Region of Halton is also projecting a tax INCREASE and school boards (both public and separate) are getting ready to do the same.

We are only one taxpayer. There are numerous levels of government lining up to take what they feel they need to do the business of the “people”. Governments at all levels tax, tax and tax, but they fail to remember its just one taxpayer.

As the cost of everything continues to go up, and confidence in the economy for the short and long term begin to wane…tax increases are going to be a further kick in the shins to people in Halton, Milton and across Canada.

It seems to be an exercise in futility but everyone needs to do what they can to let Milton Town Council know that more needs to be done. Tax increases are inevitable and I have never said there shouldnt be an increase. Common sense would say that government should live within its means as every other household has to. If a family cant afford something, it has to wait. Simple as that. Priorities have to be made and maintained. That simply isnt being done here.

There are a number of areas in the last few budgets that could have been put off until later so they can re-build reserves higher and save for the future. Milton needs more fire fighters. Thats a fact not in dispute. But the Town has to look at their priorities and see if it fits. If not, we wait. Hard pills to swallow but a fact is a fact. You cant do everything right away. It simply wont work.

Did we need almost $3 million dollars spent on brand new buses when the other ones were doing just fine? Again, Im not against a public transit system. Many of the readers of my blog know that as this town grows we NEED a reliable transit system for the future that needs to be properly maintained and kept an eye on. Once its in place, its a slippery slope to more money out the window. The last couple of budgets have proven that with the expenditures on these buses. Could they have waited? Perhaps. Maybe not. Perception of this is that Council merely rubber stamped it so they could expediate the 2 day budget process in December.

There needs to be more leadership on council. Some voices to say, this isnt right and we need to look at things more closely. If it means extending the budget approval process an extra day or go into the long hours of the evening debating line by line…then so be it. Thats what people elect their representatives to do, no matter what level of government.

Comments

  1. Eric August 8, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Mike. Congratulations on another great post. I read your letter in the Champion and I was wondering the same thing. Where’s the outrage by council? Then my wife reminded me the next election is in two more years and they’re going to count on people forgetting about this.

    I know I won’t forget and can’t wait for when they come knocking on my door. Oh wait they never did!!!

    Mike you better be running again. Council needs your common sense around the table.

  2. greenjenny August 9, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Mmm… leadership – now THERE’S an idea!

    It seems to me that town council spends all of its time reacting instead of taking a pro-active stand on anything. That way they can blame the Region, blame the Province, blame the Municipal Board, even blame the taxpayers and say “What can we do? It’s out of our hands.”

    How about this: this is OUR TOWN, and these people are supposed to be OUR REPRESENTATIVES. If most people in Milton believe that development is out of control, or would rather shop downtown than at some anonymous Big Box development, or want more affordable and rental housing so their grown children don’t have to move away, or think that people are more important than cars… why isn’t this being reflected in the decisions made by our mayor and councillors?

    More importantly, why the hell do we keep re-electing them?

    (yeah, that’s a rhetorical question – I know why…)

  3. Zayaid August 9, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    The reason why we re elect the same people over again is because we dont listen.

    I had the same problem in Mississauga before we moved here. If we had someone like Mike running in our election I would have voted for him. I live in ward one now and hopefully they wont make any changes so I can vote for Mike now.

    The people who were elected havent listened since theyve been in and they dont deserve to be elected now.

    I hope that Mike hasnt given up and will run again in the next election.

  4. greenjenny August 10, 2008 at 2:04 am

    I went door knocking for Peter Haight during the last bi-election, despite a few minor philosophical differences, because he was the only one who actually spoke his mind and had the potential to really shake things up.

    Fat lot of good that did. I think voter turnout was about 25%, and most of them went with the vanilla candidate who, as far as I’m aware, has gone happily along with whatever the majority of council members has wanted ever since.

    What the hell does it take to get you people worked up, anyway?

    Frankly, I’d love to see a whole slate of candidates (including one for mayor) run together on a platform of sustainable development for Milton. People who wouldn’t just cut ribbons and approve committee recommendations and rubber stamp every commercial and residential development application that crosses their desks. People willing to stand up to the developers and work with them to design whole communities instead of sprawling, unsustainable, unlivable housing tracts.

    What we need is someone who understands the nuts and bolts of municipal government far better than I do to partner with people with expertise in sustainable urban planning to put a practical, pro-active platform together, along with some willing victims to actually run. I’d be happy to do the writing and PR.

    Who’s with me?

    Vive la Revolucion! 🙂

Leave a Reply