For more than a decade I have observed the misinformation this time of year by Cowichan municipal politicians about pending property tax increases. The CVRD gives taxpayers a yellow “info” sheet with our annual tax bill that blatantly misrepresents the reality about why taxes are going up and where it all goes.
For the most part the increases and a sizeable amount of taxes paid usually goes from taxpayer’s pockets into municipal staff and politicians pockets. Overly generous pay rates and benefits, fancy offices and ridiculous working conditions all cost us a lot.
Our mostly weak and inept elected leadership continually kow tows to staff to increase new hiring and guarantee raises for everyone regardless of the state of our economy. For example in spite of potential amalgamation with Duncan, North Cowichan actually hired new senior staff recently fully knowing there will be lots of redundancies if they join these two big bureaucracies.
Special interests line up regularly at the public trough and get to take tax money for their pet projects that taxpayers rarely support.
Local governments like to complain and blame downloading of costs and responsibilities by senior governments. Then they hypocritically spend their time and our money trying to take over provincial and federally regulated matters like water management and “affordable” housing-neither of which are local government responsibilities. The biggest nonsense is they do this without any sensible plan except to add new taxes. The victim in all this is the taxpayer, many on fixed incomes and rarely protected by our politicians.
We continually see goofy and wacky ideas and costs being foisted on defenceless taxpayers. If the rate of spending increases in our local governments were in line with growth and inflation our taxes would be 30 to 50% less than they currently are.
There is a huge amount of waste in local government that is added to each year just to build bigger empires. That’s why the CVRD spends $80 million every year and employs hundreds for a very narrow range of poorly provided and expensive services. Now they want new powers to nail us with an “affordable housing tax” -the latest BC political bandwagon.
Its time the provincial government reined in these local fiefdoms and stopped taxpayer ripoffs. Sadly I am not holding my breath on that one!!