Every year the Canadian Taxpayer Association’s B.C. office releases its Taxpayer’ Naughty and Nice list. This year three city councils, along with Premier Christy Clark, have landed on the naughty list.
The Taxpayers’ Naughty List
Mayor Gregor Robertson:
Robertson seemed hyper-focused on just two things this year: travelling the world and hiking our taxes. This year alone, Robertson was spotted at the Vatican, China, Paris, New York and Washington, D.C. When he was home, he spent months unsuccessfully trying to get Lower Mainlanders to hand TransLink a sales tax, and he raised Vancouver property taxes. Cementing his place on the Naughty List was a $556,000 severance payout to his handpicked city manager, Penny Ballem.
Premier Christy Clark:
The premier is delivering another lump of coal for taxpayers this Christmas season with yet another Medical Services Premium (MSP) tax hike. From Dec. 31, 2010, to Jan. 1, 2016, the tax has jumped from $108/month to $150/month – 39%. And that rate is the same for families making $30,001 a year, or those making $10 million.
Surrey City Council:
Fresh off an election campaign where no incumbent mentioned a tax hike, council brought in a new $100 recreation levy, a 2.9% property tax increase and a 28% jump in secondary suite fees. Then they spent months campaigning for a 0.5% sales tax for TransLink – an agency loathed in their city. Now Surrey is looking at keeping the “temporary” 1% road levy, another 2.9% property tax hike, a 3.9% increase in fees and levies, and a 10% jump in the recreation levy.
Victoria City Council:
A group that lurched from one mistake to another, whether it be the years-late, massively over-budget Johnson St. Bridge project, partnering in the Seaterra debacle (including spending millions AFTER killing the sewage project), spending thousands to add “an interactive musical railing” to parkade stairwells, pushing for a 2 cent per litre gas tax hike, and spending $8 million on a building that could have gone to the private sector.
LISTEN to the full interview with Jordan Bateman here:
The Taxpayers’ Nice List
Joe and Jane Public:
Taxpayers pushed back against the elites this year – defeating TransLink’s 0.5% sales tax, scuttling the yoga bridge, and killing the Kamloops theatre tax hike.
Derek Corrigan, Michael Smith, and Nicole Read:
Three mayors stood up for taxpayers in the TransLink sales tax debate against the pressure of 19 colleagues, the unions, the business groups, the environmental groups, and more. They said TransLink wasted too much of our money to be trusted with any more of it – and the public sided with them.
Six years after five Lower Kootenay Band leaders secretly and illegally helped themselves to $25,000 in band funds, band member Wayne Louie took them to court and won a judgment ordering them to pay the money back. Wayne spent his own money to fight the case, while the leaders used band funds. The chief flew first class to Vancouver and ate out on the band’s dime, while Wayne took a 15-hour bus ride and packed a sandwich.
The B.C. Legislature:
In a year of triple delete and non-responsive records, the B.C. Legislature did take one positive step forward toward transparency: in March, they began posting MLA expense receipts.