Gazette reader claims governments no longer have the moral authority to tax

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 21st, 2020



We are all in this together.

Is there a member of council who hasn’t used this phrase?

Perhaps Councillor Sharman.

A Gazette reader sent in a comment which we have edited for length and clarity.

His concern was what a tax increase next budget might look like. His view was that a 0% increase was necessary because there are hundreds, perhaps thousands who are not working because their jobs disappeared or because they have been infected with the Covid19 virus.

“ I think we have entered a new reality. The costs of this pandemic have overwhelmingly and been shouldered by the private sector–layoffs, reduced wages, business closures and bankruptcies, increased private debt.
Governments and their employees have largely been sheltered from the worst economic impacts of this pandemic; even before the pandemic, public sector workers were enjoying higher wages, benefits, and pensions than their private sector counterparts. In this environment, governments have no moral authority to go to workers in the private sector and raise their taxes further depressing their standard of living in order to maintain the incomes and benefits of workers in the public sector.

“It is clearly time for governments of all stripes, including the current free spenders on Brant Street, to start reducing their spending …”.

What about a 10% pay cut for the members of Council – the savings would be put into a fund that would be available to those retailers in the city who are taking it in the ear,

The 10% would apply to just the salary – not the gold plated pension or the benefits.

When compared to the council members in the other three Halton municipalities Burlington Councillors have a very sweet deal.

A 10% piece of the base salary would amount to $5000 each.  We are talking about just the city salary – our Councillor are also Regional Councillors and the source of the other half of their $100,000 a year pay cheque.

Such a gesture might restore some of the moral authority our reader thinks this council no longer has.

Can this be done – it wouldn’t be easy but it could be done.  There was a time when Marianne Meed Ward didn’t think free parking was a benefit she could accept and said she would return the value of that benefit to the city.

Not certain if the Meed Ward followed through on that every year she was a Council member.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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4 comments to Gazette reader claims governments no longer have the moral authority to tax

  • Alfred

    I would rather pay councilors $200,000 a year, if at the end of the year we could see some results. What if anything has this council achieved, During their tenure? How did they help business? What costs and red tape did they reduce other than with lip service? We have a very creative staff at City Hall that are being held back by this Mayor and some councilors. Who were elected to grind this City to a halt to pacify a bunch of old people. To the detriment of young people ,young families and immigrants.

  • Joe Gaetan

    When the final bill that was racked up during the pandemic is rendered, there will be plenty of time for weeping and gnashing of teeth. If you think elected officials don’t earn their keep run for office. WARNING: This message has nothing to do with Cool Hand Luke or Roger the Rabbit though.

  • John Birch

    The City Councilors are already working for about $27.25 per hour for a 50 week year at 80hrs per week, the Mayor somewhat more. That’s actually not that much money considering the responsibility. They most certainly do work close to those hours.
    It should be pointed out that Provincial MPPs & City Councilors have no ‘gold plated pension’ or any pension at all from their service in office. A cut of $5,000 x 7 = $35,000 for these more than full time Council jobs of over 60-80 hours a week would come out of an Operating Budget of about $250M.
    In other words, peanuts, actually not even the crumbs of peanuts.


  • Denise W.

    Why not. Public sector is suffering pay cuts. Why not goobermint people also? The constant refrain is that they would make more in private sector; okay, let them try. Municipal to federal. Share the burden!