Some questions were left unable to be asked during the all-candidates forum. I’m doing my best answer as many as I am able. While a majority of the questions were outward focussed, some were more centred on the self. They tell you on an airplane that you should put your own oxygen mask on first, then help others. That is the spirit I am giving to this question.
With part of the reason for tax increases being City donations to organization, using taxpayers’ dollars to do so, what is your view to reducing taxes by stopping City donations and allowing property owners to donate directly, allowing for tax donation receipts to those who donate?
Tax is Not a Four Letter Word
The amount of taxes levied to cover costs of city donations is not a major factor in tax increases. Larger issues result in tax increases. Two issues include inflation, and necessary capital projects . “Tax” is not a “four letter word,”
Taxes ensure our ability to continue to exist as a community. Taxes pay for firefighters, roads, infrastructure, and services we all use. In some cases we hope to never have to use these services, but we are grateful for when they are there.
I encourage people to donate to the causes that they care about. However, that statement itself demonstrates the issue with relying solely on individuals to donate. People donate to causes that affect them personally and other causes receive less funding as.a result.
Charities exist, most often, as a result of cracks in the system or, for whatever reason, the inability of governments to fill a need. Sometimes those charities are able to better deliver services. This could be because they have a dedicated staff, or better resources. Another reason is that the local government does not have the expertise to meet those needs.
As a city counsellor, I would continue to ask people to be as generous as they are able. But I will also continue to promote funding for community centres, food banks, and other non-profits. Organizations like the Pembina Hills Arts Council, 500 Stephen Street, and the library could not exist with public funding.
We owe a lot to these organizations for helping build a strong community, and for helping to enrich the culture of our city.