Saturday, June 19, 2010

Will we Tax revolt Like California?

No one wants higher taxes and user fees.

No one wants an increase in property taxes.

Legislation in California requires that they have their operating budget balanced annually and they are not permitted to run a deficit.

Case files piling up by the thousands, phones ringing off the hook, forced midweek courthouse closings and occasional brawls as frustrated citizens queue for hours to pay parking fines.

“People think we’re becoming a Third World country,” said Ms. Sims, 55. “They don’t understand.”

It’s a story that’s being repeated all across California – and throughout the United States – as cash-strapped state and local governments grapple with collapsed tax revenues and swelling budget gaps. Mass layoffs, slashed health and welfare services, closed parks, crumbling superhighways and ever-larger public school class sizes are all part of the new normal.

The result? The State of California is potentially facing bankruptcy. They are seeking a BAILOUT in the same afforded to business. This is a larger and looming issue compared to the financial failure in Greece. In a competitive economic climate for jobs, California is laying off teachers. Municipal services are being reduced [no one answering phones or accepting traffic fine payments] as the property tax base is reduced by market value adjustments and vacancy. Is that were we are headed? Political Gridlock while other economies/ countries and their investment dollars pass us by?

Are there lessons here for us in Canada? Especially here in Toronto?

Our own political systems has become mired in polarized debates about procedures and finger pointing about expense accounts. Public service means a service to the public. Not lavish spending and retirement parties for favored employees or politicians. I want leadership and decisions, forward planning that is fiscally responsible to future generations.

We have our own issues about Municipal Property Tax Assessments; Increasing Property Values and Market Value Evaluation. We need to address a cohesive transit solution that will reduce gridlock that is wasting Billions of Dollars in opportunity cost for business by being "parked" in traffic. This traffic solution needs to include ALL the municipalities of Vaughan, Mississauga, Brampton, Ajax, Oshawa, and up to York region, Markham and Thornhill. We need to post a News Conference that Toronto is open for investment and a great place to safe haven your money in Canada; with one of the safest banking systems in the world. We need an ECO energy solution that doesn't pit the NIMBYism of one neighbourhood against another.

Toronto has a stable and growing knowledge based economy, interest rate stability, quality of life beside a lake, recreation opportunities, employment opportunity and excellent Universities to name but a few; But maybe I see our City through rose coloured glasses.

What are your thoughts?

Doug Holyday said "There are serious savings to be had through amalgamation that have not been realised" Why not?

Add your voice.

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