Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sask: New deal for city workers means a tax increase

Now is the time to look at some serious privatization initiatives. City services are pricing themselves out of the market.

From the Leader Post:

The City of Regina is facing an $8.4-million bill to pay for the salary and related benefit increases received by core city workers.

That total includes $6.3 million over three years for the 1,600 workers who recently were on strike, plus $2.1 million for pay raises for middle managers and out-of-scope workers. A report released by the city Friday said the city is hoping to cover off the pay raises for 2004 and 2005 within existing budgets.

But it said the city's operating and utility budgets will have to be increased by $3.5 million in 2006 as a result of the salary increases, potentially translating into a three- to four-per-cent property tax increase next year, if everything else remains the same.

10 comments:

Union Member said...

Privatized city services will lead lower wages for all. The inability of impoverished people to access resources like the swimming pool, fitness centres ,etc. This will lead to greater obesity(not to mention the lower wages causing an inability to nourish themselves properly),putting more strain on the healthcare system.
Instead of good ol'mayor Fiasco and co. putting the whole burden on residential tax payers, why not stop the policy of 5 year tax holidays for the big box stores building on the edges of the city and/or a levy to cover the cost of the new roads, sewers, sidewalks, lights and bus routes. That would probably help. Also, as in done most of the USA, include vehicles in the definition of property and tax them as well.
It's time to stop concentrating on business development and start working on human development.
Choice should not be monopolized by the wealthy.

Shawn said...

With all the cauterwauling over choice, I have a question. Does a person's financial picture play any role in determining the choices available to them? For example, I choose to drive an eight year old vehicle because I do not value a new one enough to pay for it. I would certainly like one, so should someone with more money than me be forced to buy one for me?

Shawn said...

Also, the city could get rid of the buses, creating more exercise for the poor and alleviating some of the long-term health care costs (as well as saving a few million a year).

Union Member said...

Does a person's financial picture play any role in determining the choices available to them?
Of course it does, wealthy people can send their kids to better schools/university, soon to be doctors, can afford a car, etc.
You analogy of your car is irrelevant, as I am not talking about luxury items. You have a car and you state people who don't should walk. Adding an extra couple of hours or more to their day. Should they not have a choice to ride a bus ? Should they not be as healthy as a CEO ? Should they not be paid a living wage ?
We'll see what the citizens of Regina do in the fall of 2006. Then they can decide the level of service or services provided by the public. The ones who should be making this choice or do you not believe in democracy ?

Shawn said...

I believe in democracy, but not to the point where majority rule supercedes any person's (rich or poor) rights. I mena real rights, like free speech, association, etc., not phoney stuff that gets pushed these days.

1) Walking is one option open to them. They could also take a taxi, get a ride from a friend, carpol, buy a bike, or any number of other creative solutions.
2)I have no problem with their having the choice to ride a bus, provided it is a self-sustaining service free of city subsidy.
3) Their relative health as compared to that of a CEO is irrelevant. Your health is primarily what you make of it via your actions and choices(excepting a small number of congenital problems). Would you suggest that we need to make CEO's sicker so poor people don't feel slighted?
4) In the real world, wages for work are determined by supply and demand. If work is inherently dangerous or difficult, very few people will want to do it, conversely they get paid rather well (uranium miners and neurosurgeons). If the job you perform has very little demand or skill set attached to it, most often the pay is commensurate. It sucks to be on the low end of the scale, but so long as advancement through hard work and skill is possible what else would you ask for?

BTW, the last time I looked, the building trades were paying pretty well, so it isn't just people with 8 years of university that make good money. However, you run the risk of being shanghaied into a trade union with the attendant problems.

Union Member said...

Shawn my friend, your first 3 points are all reliant on money. If you have some it is viable. Good non processed food is twice or more the cost of the processed crap. If you live on $200 a week, it's hard to afford good natural food.
Point 4: I would contend that the guy who cleans up the shit is just as important, if not more, then the head of the CTF. If your sewer isn't running or the garbage is piling up. It will have a greater impact on individuals then the loss of endlessly irrelevant press releases, predictable pro-corporate slogans , anti-government bashing and infantile policy analysis from the CTF. Who gets paid more ? Where's your market there ?
You seem to forget that the market for municipal unionized employees is different from Joe's Yard Care employees. The CTF,NCC and Fraser Inst. have all created markets for themselves. Why is so bad when employees do the same ?
Once again I ask, Should CHOICE ONLY be FOR the WEALTHY ?

Shawn said...

I hve no problem with employees creating a market for their services, but you have one enormous blind spot. We cannot say, "thanks, but no. I do not value your service at that price, I will take my business elsewhere." That is a big difference.

If you don't like the CTF, you can support some lefty policy institute. No one forces you to belong to the CTF or pay for their products. With unionized employees that is rarely, if ever, the case. Usually we (the taxpayers) are held hostage to their demands with no options to have the job done otherwise. Would the world truly come to a fiery end if the city negotiated a three year tender with Loraas to pick up garbage? Is there no room for choice in these matters? Or is choice only a good thing when someone else is paying for your choices?

Points 1-3. Create a basic exemption of 15K per adult and 5-7.5K per dependent child. With an incentive to work and not see it drained away by the government, people can be remarkably enterprising. Family of 4 has a 45K level before paying income tax. To reduce poverty make it worthwhile for people to earn a living.

Regarding your counterpoint to #4. If you are running a business where you are paying your CEO the same as the janitor, I hope your janitor is one smart cookie. How much can a good CEO earn for your business? How much can a janitor earn for the business?

Regarding the part about the CTF being pro this, anti that, and the comment regarding their policy analysis. The majority of what I have read is material that has been shown to work in the real world (flat tax implementation in the Baltic states, creating private ownership on reserves, minimizing personal and corporate tax loads to stimulate economic growth, etc.).

The public sector cannot outpace private growth because the private sector primarily pays the bills for the public via taxation. Please forgive the unfortunate, but quite accurate, analogy of a tick and a dog. If the tick sucks too much blood from the dog, it may become sick and die. If that dog is the only available host the tick will die too. A good tick takes enough to survive without killing the host.

Union Member said...

Points 1-3. Create a basic exemption of 15K per adult and 5-7.5K per dependent child. With an incentive to work and not see it drained away by the government, people can be remarkably enterprising. Family of 4 has a 45K level before paying income tax. To reduce poverty make it worthwhile for people to earn a living.

Once again, I can not agree with you more but at the same time, it will be necessary to insure that employers are not abusing employees by not paying living wages, not supply benefits, etc.

How much can a good CEO earn for your business?
- Do they really have that much impact on a companies profits, sure some dynamic individuals have but as a whole. I don't think so.

How much can a janitor earn for the business?
- well if your business isn't clean and well kept then your traffic will lower causing less revenue and profit. Therefore, I would say that janitors contribute more to the bottom line then a CEO.

flat tax implementation in the Baltic states
- This needs to taken in context. As the wealthy in these states had avoided taxes completely. The flat tax actually forced them to pay taxes. It wasn't but in to reduce the load on the wealthy, like here.

The public sector cannot outpace private growth because the private sector primarily pays the bills for the public via taxation. Please forgive the unfortunate, but quite accurate, analogy of a tick and a dog. If the tick sucks too much blood from the dog, it may become sick and die. If that dog is the only available host the tick will die too. A good tick takes enough to survive without killing the host.

- Yes, but a smart tick would get as much as it could when the dog is healthy and vibrant. In order to get by when the dog is sick.

Union Member said...

Should CHOICE ONLY be FOR the WEALTHY ?

CTF=CHOICE ONLY FOR WEALTHY

Shawn said...

Shouldn't the dog also have the option of scratching off the tick if it becomes a nuisance?

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