Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Municipal taxes are rigged

The National Post reports that council chambers in Toronto yesterday were jammed with supporters of two new taxes passed after months of doubt and political wrangling. That's right… supporters of new taxes.

If that seems counter-intuitive, if not altogether fantastic, it's not: city governments hire or otherwise subsidize a substantial minority who have an altogether more substantial interest in organizing themselves in support of raising revenues than the majority from whom the revenues are raised in organizing themselves against taxes. Go to a London city council meeting — even on their bad days, at least 9/10ths of the audience is composed of people or groups who have something to gain from municipal spending. In fact, councillors are genuinely surprised to see anyone else. In Toronto, labour, arts and community groups formed dozens of associations to support the proposed new taxes that were easily, with a uniform mutual interest, organized into a forceful coalition with plenty of advertising and media resources.

It's an entirely rational outcome of an Ontario Municipal Act that defines no practical limits on what cities can spend. The impact of tax policy to taxpayers is felt more in increments, providing a less immediate and much reduced incentive to agitate than for taxspenders. More importantly, taxspenders form a much more cohesive constituency to which politicians can appeal than the broad, diverse and inchoate mass of interests represented in the community of taxpayers as a whole, providing an incentive for politicians to cater to. Finally, the lack of a party system in municipal governments — as well as the failure, at least in London, to report publicly how politicians act and vote — makes it extraordinarily difficult for the electorate to make wholesale changes to their councils, for which they receive only one opportunity in four years in any case. Suggestions?

Incidentally, the new vehicle registration and land transfer taxes in Toronto were passed. The additional revenues mean Toronto taxpayers are only looking at a 10% to 12% property tax increase next year.


Jake said...

The condo building boom that has added hundreds of millions in building permits to Toronto coffers will dry up as demand for housing slides. The mass exodus of people and jobs to the GTA will only escalate. This may offset any potential revenue gains that the land transfer tax may bring in.

People will avoid registering their vehicles by obtaining a mailbox outside of Toronto (100% legal) and thus pay no municipal registry fees. If they bring in the liquor tax, people will simply go to the LCBO outside the city limits.

Toronto is slowly rotting into a city where the middle class is evaporating since they can no longer afford to purchase a new home. They are not only become priced outta the market for housing but are also unable to pay the high taxes even if they can buy a home.

This pattern is strangely taking shape in London as the middle class gets priced outta the housing market with perpetual inflationary tax increases. These folks have moved outside the city to St. Thomas, Ingersol, Woodstock, etc. to avoid the taxes.

For example, St. Thomas experienced the fastest growth rate of any city in Southwestern Ontario over the last 5 years. Also economic opportunities are better outside London with more industry setting up shop in these towns. If people in St. Thomas do have a job in London, they just drive 20 minutes north--which is no different (perhaps better) in commute time than driving from one end of London to the other.

Anonymous said...

council chambers in Toronto yesterday were jammed with supporters of two new taxes passed after months of doubt and political wrangling. That's right… supporters of new taxes.

This is not difficult to explain. Net taxpayers are in general resourceful, energetic and independent. That's why they are net taxpayers, *because* they are intelligent and hard workers. They generate wealth. Because they are busy working for a living, and because they are confident in their ability to do well without any government help, they do not have time or the inclination to attend rallys to get the government to do this or do that. Get they government off my back, they say, then they go back to whatever they do that makes them money. And they take care of their young, crippled and elderly relatives and friends.

Net tax consumers are in general ... less so. If they weren't that way, they would have figured out how to take care of themselves and they'd be out there doing it. But they *aren't* out there working and giving to the community. The time and energy which they *don't* spend working and taking care of other people is spent whining, begging and bullying the government to confiscate and give to them whatever the resourceful and energetic have produced. They rant, because they can't. And won't. In a vicious circle, the more success which leeches have, the more workers will give up and join them. It's an axiom of animal behavior - if hurts, don't do it. And being taxed to support welfare bums and unionized bullies is very painful.

This is the fundamental flaw of democracies, especially the kind of democracy where everyone gets a vote and where the winners get to control and tax anything they want. That's why societies organized on these lines are unstable, which is why every democracy has a paper currency which is being devalued as fast as the politicians will dare, massive fiscal or generational government spending deficits, and serious demographic or uncontrolled immigration problems.

The solution? Worship democracy less, respect private property more.

Elaine said...

Well that is something to chaw on.


Growth debate turns ugly-lfp

The socialist cabal must have been shitting their pants when the working people confronted them last night.

They wouldn't know what to do with working people, who weren't there to save a tree.

No, those working people were there to save their jobs. That must have blew the socialist cabal away.

The socialist cabal would be thinking, those carpenters, plumbers, gas fitters, sheet metal workers, they cut down down trees and use all kinds of unnatural contrapections to build buildings. They are destroying our beloved trees. Kill!crush!destroy!

"I know this is a vulnerable profession and trade, but let's get real. That's the nature of it," Coun. Judy Bryant said. -lfp

Oh my, something tells me Judy is going to be very, very sorry she fluffed the working men and women off.

Judy this isn't the welfare crowd that you throw gobs of taxpayer money at so they can genuflect when you come in the room. These are working people who see you as nothing more than another over paid welfare recipient they have to keep.

Judy these are men and women who are not interested in going on welfare to save your trees. These people want to work, and live in London. They are not going to take too kindly to you threatening the livelyhood of their families.

They usually don't get involved in politics, and they don't mind providing you with a welfare check to sit down there every week. They even laugh at your stupidity.

...but if you push them, threaten their ability to take care of their familes, well that is a whole different ballgame.

This city would look mighty different if people who actually did work for a living, and understood the importance of going after well paying jobs for its citizens, ever did decide to get involved in city politics.

Let's hope one of them steps forward from the Keep London Growing coalition.


....loved that line from Gosnell..."Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell said we have five to 10 years to act or become a 'retirement village.'-London free press


Anonymous said...

The "Keep London Growing Coalition" is a hastily thrown together lobby group of land development, construction and real estate moguls whose purpose is to accelerate the planning process so there is less planning scutiny and keep development charges low so that London taxpayers continue to subsidize their businesses.

Translation: hit working people in the pocketbooks, while they line their own.

Their website has registered pesticide lobbyist and spindoctor John Matsui written all over it.

By the way, Matsui received $200,000 from the provincial Liberals to put together a website to serve new and recent immigrants to Ontario. $200,000 for a website? Matsui must have netted $175,000 on the deal.

Gosnell, Dan McDonald and Matsui are in on this latest "coalition" up to their eyeballs.

The average Londoner can see thru this charade for what it is.

Elaine said...

...hastily thrown together? They have been around since March. I am sure you don't know any trades people, and therefore are unaware of their concerns. Barry,I know this by your blatant ignorance as to their concerns.

Perhaps you could get out of bed before 4:00 pm, and drive out to Woodstock, St.Thomas,Cambridge or Sarnia, one of those work sites, and interview a few of the trades people.

There are very few trades people and laborers that do not have to seek work out of town. There are very few trades people or laborers who will consider buying a home in London, knowing they will have to commute a long distance everyday to get to work. It makes more sense, (something you and the socialist cabal are lacking), to purchase a home in a growing viable community, that provides them with a job.