Friday, August 19, 2005

Municipalities — the new special interest welfare lobby

From the London Free Press:

Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen rejected a call yesterday from the province's municipalities for an additional $3 billion and said any major transfers are years down the road.
What is to be materially accomplished, as opposed to politically, by such a redistribution of money from one level of government to another? Most provincial revenue comes, directly or indirectly, from the taxes of people or businesses in municipalities, which means that if implemented the redistribution would amount to a great net subsidization of people living within muncipalities by those living without. The political consequences, however, are that the legislative and financial responsibilities of the various levels of government, once delineated in the constitution and in statutes and now overlooked completely, will be further concealed. One of the problems with income and property taxation, apart from the fact it is extorted from people under threat of fine or physical confinement, is that there is no resemblance or discernable connection between what is paid by someone and what they receive. I pay income taxes to the federal government, some of which is transferred to the provincial government, some of which is transferred to the local government, some of which is transferred back to the federal government, and some of which pays for the new water cooler on the fifth floor of city hall. Do politicians really wonder at the disengagement of citizens in the electoral process?

Or do they really care, having completely disengaged themselves from citizens?
"If municipalities aren't part of Ontario's agenda, then municipalities are not going to be very happy," said [Roger] Anderson [president of the Association of Municipalities].
The reflexive use of collective, and anthropomorphizing to boot, terms as agents precludes human agency. Municipalities speak for themselves, I guess somehow by possessing people like Anderson, but not for myself. I should hate to see the money I waste on the provincial government even more eggregiously squandered on propping up a false-front appearance of financial propriety by London city council.

Municipalities shouldn't worry, though, nor their mouthpieces — when the provincial election approaches, Gerretsen will be happy to pay for their appeasement with our money.

1 Comment:

Pietr said...

Lovely language.
A pleasure to read.