Alternative Approval Process is an alternative to democracy

For many of us it’s property tax time again.

Most will see an increase, very few a decrease… as always.

Expect about twice the inflation rate or more…for some much more.

Coached numbers of what per cent increase is due have been shared by your politicians, varying from traditionally modest in places such as North Oyster Diamond to the institutionalized tax and spend of large municipalities.

Your actual tax increase is this year’s number minus last year’s number, divided by last year’s number.

Don’t be surprised if it’s a variance to what was promised or expected… sorry about that, political angst, hand wringing and crocodile tears will be given you for free! A poor salve.

Neighbourhood new construction, particularly business assessments, or industrial type of assessments will not actually reflect in lower numbers for you, on average it will still be some multiple of the inflation rate or the consumer cost of living index.

Is this sustainable? Of course not in the long term… we just don’t know when it will snap after the relentless stretching.

Many are already stretched pretty thin these days, but many are not… that’s the weakness of a non-progressive property tax, the old, the weak, the single, the children, all pay the full freight on a property tax bill.

In politics, the most difficult thing for a politician to do…is to say no.

But you can, sometimes. This fall, likely strategically mixed in with the federal election, will be a slew of counter petition public consent initiatives to dig deep into your property tax pocket for a bunch of things the system wants, but was not prepared to ask for formally by referendum at the last election. Counter petitions used mischievously are a poison to the democratic process. A poor mask for straight up referendums on anything with a controversial bent.

For example, the recent Sportsplex referendum let the people speak, and they did, some areas said yes, tax me, some jurisdictions said no.

Select bureaucracy was aghast at the outcomes… My point: pay attention this next while as the Alternative Approval Process is used to beg public consent to tax more, on several questions… actually an alternative process to democracy itself.

Loren Duncan

Former Area E Director Sahtlam