Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ben Chu reports on the conclusion from the chief economist of the Bank of England that decreased unionization in the UK is responsible for reducing wages for all workers by .75% per year over the past 30 years.

- Hassan Yussuff warns that Doug Ford's insistence on reversing any gains for workers at the first opportunity will put many women in avoidable danger. And David Climenhaga comments on Jason Kenney's plans to similarly launch an all-out attack on workers, with no regard for evidence or public input.

- Eliza Barclay and Umair Irfan offer a list of suggestions to avert climate breakdown, while Noah Smith discusses the importance of clean energy development in China as part of the global fight against climate change. Matt Henderson points out the unfairness of pushing carbon debts onto future generations, while Brent Patterson makes the case for holding corporations to account for their carbon pollution.

- The Star's editorial board weighs in on the need to reduce traffic congestion in Toronto. And Kim Willsher reports on the success of Dunkirk's implementation of free public transportation.

- Finally, Sheila Block comments on the absurdity of obsessing over artificial limits on tax revenue:
Any politician promising better public services without touching property taxes isn’t telling the whole story.

Just to maintain the status quo — which shouldn’t be the goal in an expanding city — Toronto would need property tax increases that grow with both population and inflation. That would be about 50 per cent higher than inflationary increases only.
We see the impact of this unsustainable fiscal approach all around our city: dangerous crowding in subway stations, a desperate need for repairs in Toronto Community Housing, flooded streets during climate events, insufficient shelter beds in the height of winter, timid investments in the city’s poverty reduction strategy, and digital line ups to get kids into recreational programs.

Did I mention $30 billion in unfunded capital projects?

Even worse, each year that we delay increasing property taxes has an impact on both our current and future capacity to fund essential city services.

But what if we approached property taxes in a grown-up fashion?

As grown ups, we know that we’re better off changing the oil in our cars on schedule as part of a good maintenance program. We know that dealing with the mould in the basement as soon as possible is the best financial and health strategy. And when we can, we know that putting money aside for our retirement is the prudent thing to do.

We are doing none of this for our larger home, the City of Toronto. We are letting the mould spread. We are emptying our saving accounts. We are not investing in our children’s futures.
As residents, we also don’t get a free pass. Voters who choose tax-freezing candidates must come to terms with deteriorating public services and sticking the bill to our kids and grandkids.

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