Thursday, January 17, 2013

New column day

Here, on the general irrationality of the right-wing obsession with chaining public services and tax rates to population growth - and the particularly egregious application of that theory by the Regina Chamber of Commerce when it's put added pressure on city services by insisting on generous tax abatements for some of the businesses and individuals who can most afford to contribute to maintaining them.

For further reading...
- My look at the city's proposed 2013 budget doesn't include a detailed breakdown of tax expenditures and abatements: there's some mention of the cost associated with the city's housing tax incentive, but other well-documented ad hoc tax goodies (and the associated loss of revenue to the city) don't appear to rate a mention.
- The Chamber's response to the proposed budget - including its insistence on "inflation plus growth" at the mill rate level with no concern for its effect on services - can be found in Will Chabun's coverage of the budget.
- And finally, Regina's own City Manager notes that growth for its own sake doesn't necessarily produce enough revenue to cover the added cost of services:
Davies explained that growth into new areas doesn't always generate the tax revenue needed to extend services to those neighbourhoods in the long-term. He says that means the city needs to budget more strategically.

"We need to get sharper with finding ways to save money, to create efficiencies and create some headroom that we can make some further investments," Davies noted. "The expectations (people have) are about services but more importantly these days it's about maintaining infrastructure."

1 comment:

  1. Nice column. Cogent and well-argued.

    Doesn't do something I see all too often and consider a mistake: Many writers will lead with a description of right wing arguments and then try to deconstruct them. I think that's a tactical/psychological error; all too often people will get a bigger impression from the opening summation of right wing positions than from the qualifiers that follow. This piece leads with a strong description of wealthy tax evasion, leaving any account of right wing rationales more to the middle and keeping it minimal. Very sound--the right get to trumpet their arguments quite enough as it is.