Saturday, January 05, 2008

Put an end to scare tactics

Some municipalities, like Vancouver, use the threat of cuts to core services such as policing to scare citizens into accepting ever increasing property taxes to cover revenue shortfalls. The city of Vancouver sends out a survey each year asking people about their service priorities. The city's 2007 budget pullout box dramatically highlights "what happens if city services are cut?" The first item highlighted is public safety and cuts to police and firefighters. This is a scare tactic.

Policing is a core municipal function and ratepayers rightly expect protective services from their local government. Police forces are getting bigger and so are their budgets, so why the spin? In 2006, the crime rate fell to its lowest level in 30 years. In fact, the BC Progress Board reports that for crime to fall further, B.C. needs to work on the primary causes of crime and criminality. It doesn't mention the need for more police but does recommend a review of police activities to determine whether law enforcement dollars are being spent efficiently.

Vancouver's cost per resident for protective services is one of the highest in the lower mainland. Maybe instead of scaring people into agreeing to higher property taxes, municipalities should spend more efficiently.

Provincial governments must rein in the activities of municipal politicians, limit municipal claims on tax dollars, and improve municipal accountability.

No comments:

CTF You Tube Channel

Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Fan Box