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NPA makes strange promises on fiscal accountability

September 27th, 2011 · 39 Comments

Latest announcement from the NPA didn’t get much media play Tuesday because media were running around dealing with BC Ferries CEO resignation, shooting near a school, and the Municipal Convention That Ate Vancouver (UBCM).

So I’ve attached the news release in full, plus my thoughts here, which are: Sigh.

I don’t like being the wet blanket all the time. Or, let’s say, I’d rather be an equal-opportunity wet blanket, but only the NPA are making announcements so they are the ones getting all the criticism for the moent.

But really. How dumb do they think voters are?

The NPA used to promise all the time to keep taxes to the rate of inflation but somehow that didn’t always quite happen.

A million dollars in savings in a billion-dollar budget? Please. That’s no Ford Nation gravy train announcement. It’s like saying you’re going on a diet so you’ll only have one dessert instead of two, after your five-course meal.

And giving surpluses back to taxpayers? Oh, I don’t care what the Visionistas say about her having voted against giving back the surplus from the city strike. That was a one-time unique situation, different from trying to establish a permanent policy.

But saying you’ll give back surpluses is just bogus. There are all kinds of ways to juggle the books so that you don’t have a surplus. Or so that you do (like raising taxes more than you actually need to) so you can have something to give back and look like you’re accomplishing something when you’re not.

And, btw, the shift of taxes from business to residential has been happening steadily for the past three years.

Oh my gosh, can the NPA not do better than this? I was hoping for more.

Anton Announces Common Sense Tax Measures: Year-end Surpluses will be Returned to Taxpayers

Vancouver, BC– NPA Candidate for Mayor Suzanne Anton announced today that, when elected, the NPA will return year-end capital and operating surpluses to taxpayers as part of its fiscal plan for more accountability at City Hall.

“Vision Vancouver and COPE are holding back our city’s prosperity,” said Anton. “While taxes, fees and the burden of red tape are rising, residents and business owners are being left out of decision making at City Hall. That will change when the NPA is elected in November.”

Anton announced the NPA prosperity platform will include fiscal and taxation commitments to:

  • return budget surpluses directly to property taxpayers
  • cut at least $1 million in ineffective Vision Vancouver pet projects from municipal budget
  • set a cap for any future operating spending increases
  • continue the NPA fair tax shift to help keep Vancouver small businesses competitive

Estimates at the end of the second quarter of 2011 project the City of Vancouver’s operating and capital budget surpluses to exceed $7.5 million.  In 2008, Gregor Robertson inherited a $15 million surplus from the NPA.

“When City Hall takes your tax dollar and doesn’t use or need it by the end of the year, that money should go back to taxpayers,” explained Anton. “In the last three years city operating and capital surpluses have amounted to millions of dollars. That money belongs to Vancouver taxpayers and should be returned and not spent on year-end projects.”

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