Anti-Tax Is Anti-Citizen

Since government, or social organization, is among the wants of man, as truly as food or clothing, we must recognize it in the science of political economy, and provide for it. Government implies functionaries and expenditures. How shall these be maintained? Evidently by the contributions of all, for all are interested in its existence. It may, therefore, rightfully claim a share of all that labor and capital have created.

— “The Science Of Wealth” (1866), by Amasa Walker

When Mayor Rob Ford succeeded in having the Vehicle Registration Tax repealed last month, he crowed, “It’s a great day for the taxpayers of Toronto. We just put $64-million back in their pockets. They can do what they want. They can go out and spend it, create jobs and stimulate the economy or they can save it.”

I don’t know if the mayor really believes all that neoconservative nonsense about tax cuts stimulating the economy and, in turn, increasing government revenues. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t since it’s an empty trope that’s been all the rage for the past 30 years or so despite having little real world evidence to back it up. And I also wonder if the mayor understands that even if tax cuts were shown to increase government revenue, municipal governments in this province would not see their coffers filled much as the kind of tax revenues they have access to aren’t the sales or consumption taxes that, theoretically, increase in a stimulated economy. It’s a subtle distinction Mayor Ford hasn’t shown much of a propensity in understanding.

In cutting the VRT, city council has essentially amputated one of the hard earned revenue tools it was granted through the City of Toronto Act. As it will if the mayor eventually carries through on his pledge to do away with the land transfer tax. His proposal to freeze property taxes on this year’s budget (which is actually a cut – see Spacing’s Dylan Reid explain in his post) slices mightily into the city’s biggest generator of revenue.

Despite what politicos on the right and their media promoters insist on telling us, taxation is not a dirty word. It’s what buys us civilization and all that. Striking the right balance on which taxes to implement and at what levels in order to not stifle healthy economic growth is the key to successful governance. Any idiot can simply appeal to our basest instincts of greed and self-interest in a call for slashing taxes. It’s proven to be a winning strategy for decades now.

The loss of the VRT revenue and the mayor’s proposed property tax freeze will cost the city in excess of $100 million. How will that money be offset? Service cuts that Mayor Ford guaranteed on the campaign trail wouldn’t happen and some $23 million in user fee increases. What’s that about Torontonians tired of being nickel-and-dimed to death? His Respect For Taxpayers seems to be very, very selective.

Anti-tax politicians are never looking out for ‘the little guy’ despite their claims to the contrary. The last thing they want to do is to give a voice to the voiceless. Their primary intent, first and foremost, is to diminish the power of government to properly look after all of its citizens regardless of where they are on the economic spectrum. If they can get in a little reverse Robin Hood wealth redistribution while they’re at it, so much the better. Anti-tax politicians are not grassroots heroes.

They are abrogators of responsibility. They don’t govern. They vandalize and plunder. They never leave anything better than they found it. They only make things worse. And time and time again, we have to chase them from office and start to clean everything up.

You’d think we’dve learned all that by now.

get it through our thick skullsly submitted by Cityslikr

12 thoughts on “Anti-Tax Is Anti-Citizen

  1. The notion of saving 800,000 owners; $60 OR $30 for their VRT will not be the motivation for creating jobs! Even a household saving $58 in a 2011 property tax freeze(based on inflation) won’t lead to job creation if that household is paying $56 more for water and $6-12 for the garbage bin pick up depending on size.
    The notion of user fees is more fair. So if you use the TTC the fare will cover 70something% of operations. I just don’t think it is wise to cut library services when the usage has gone up 24% in the past 3 years. (Plus I read over my post so that it won’t be interpreted by the ignorant)

  2. RF’s contention that eliminating the $60 would create jobs was an indication of his inexperience and lack of education. I don’t agree with jacking up user fees before the true extent of the slush at CH is determined. Why should a single mom pay more to take her family for a swim or a yoga class when there is a culture that pays for parties, speech lessons or unnecessary foreign travel? However, given that the current subway system favours the rich folk of TO, I agree fares should rise and rise immediately.

    I’m glad Sonny praises the importance of proof reading.

  3. Without neighbourhoods, there is no tax base: not levies on residentail property, not business nor income nor consumption taxes.

    People with cars can find a way to pay $30-$60 … kids wanting to learn how to swim, not so much … If carowners knew their VRT would eventually qualify a lifeguard, don’t you think they would agree ??

  4. Absolutely, and it was DM’s failure in communication that allowed so much resentment to fester. Karen Stintz had speech lessons paid by us but do you think a 10 year old with a speech problem can get $4,000 from the City? Not at all and it’s that culture at Council that RF appears to be wanting to attack. Lord knows, DM did not although that’s what he promised.

  5. Cityslikr, we here at the Parkdale Party believe that Mr. Ford will surprise most of his detractors. The attack on Ford for cutting sources of revenue is too predictable and Ford’s team are no dummies. We feel that the left has taken the bait hook line and sinker.
    Most of the people who work for the City, union and non-union alike, deep in their hearts know very well that there are tremendous opportunities to streamline operations so that more can be done with less. If anyone is not aware of these existing financial sink holes then you are either uninformed or have chosen to ignore the information before your eyes. I’m not talking about statistics, where figures lie and liars figure, but the reality of day-to-day operations at city run facilities. People talk about service levels at the TTC because this is the face of the organization that is public, but cut through a few layers of management and you will be shocked by what you see. Based on our first hand observations if these types of departments run at a 50% efficiency then they’ve had a productive day and maybe even broke a sweat.
    Ford and his team will very gently squeeze cost savings out a system that has plenty of juice available to be squeezed.
    The Parkdale Party had the plan to accomplish this as posted on our web site and since Ford’s team copied a number of our other strategies there is no reason to believe that they won’t copy the others where we demonstrated how to squeeze that juice out.
    The left is too predictable and Ford’s team will have you guys for lunch. There are massive savings to be realized that will only hurt the feelings of those who have been riding The Gravy Train!

    • Dear Walt,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke truly envy people like you and the other members of the Parkdale Party and all Mayor Ford boosters at large. Our lives and belief systems would be so much simpler if we just gave over to our hunches, intuition, gut feelings and plain common sense. None of these can ever be contested or challenged because, well, they just are. You just know them, deep in your hearts. In some circles, that’s known as wishful thinking. Clap hard enough and Tinkerbell won’t die.

      You are able to make claims with no evidence aside from anecdotal and straight up personal opinion. This is very convenient and ultimately circular because if anyone disagrees then they are simply uninformed or have chosen to ignore information that is right in front of their nose. We assume all those ‘first hand observations’ you’ve made and conclusions you’ve arrived at are filtered through a thorough and objective understanding and knowledge of city departments. Or does that just lead to an unhealthy dependence on statistics, facts and figures that are used solely by liars and cheats?

      We would love to believe that this city’s financial problems could be sorted out as easily as you just outlined in 5 paragraphs. Certainly, the mayor and his team are going to give it a go. Painless for everyone except all those riding aboard The Gravy Train. It strikes us, however, that the world operates on a slightly more complex level than that and for every inefficiency and savings you wring out of the city, one less under-privileged kid doesn’t learn how to swim or get a flu shot administered.

      But you knew we were going to say that since we are so predictable.

      • cityslikr, I accept your comments and agree that its difficult to substantiate many gut feelings but, we know what we know. We have heard and we have seen with our own eyes the extent some city workers will go to in order to not do any work. By seeing things first hand we understand that these are not isolated cases and certainly, for the most part, not the fault of the employees. People are just trying to fill their day and there is not enough work to go around! The problem is with the management system that hires too many people just so that they can build their kingdoms and trumpet their importance.
        No need to debate this situation because it will be played out shortly right before our eyes.
        We agree that currently “the world operates on a slightly more complex level…” but really, does it need to? We believe that our world has become unnecessarily complex and by making things simpler will result in the tax payers having a better understanding of what is happening with their money. Right now we are told that we should just trust the system because we’re just not bright enough to understand how complex the operation of the city really is.
        Very shortly departments will get squeezed, feelings will get hurt, a shit load of money will be spent, and…..this will be the magic trick that Ford will pull out of his hat and make the far left heads spin, no under-privileged kid will lose the opportunity to learn how to swim or get a flu shot.

      • Can’t cityslkr just stay out of it – does (s)he crave instant gratification that much? Or, is (s)he now targeting Walt for Coventry? More and more cityslkr reminds me of Sarah Palin.

  6. I agree and there’s more socialism in your Party Walt than I ever saw in the likes of Kyle Rae or Moscoe or Bussin. My political preference is for a caring, socialist society that can only be sustained through the proper management and over-sight of our economic systems. The pinko elites don’t understand that. They know about it but they can’t operate under those conditions. They believe ideology trumps all. You’re coming from a time when Toronto cared. Cared enough to do a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. That’s also where RF is coming from. Let’s hope he doesn’t get high-jacked the way DM was.

  7. Great post. Every time I hear people bitching about their taxes, this is where I turn, but you’ve gone one better by revealing the class dimension.

    As for the Parkdale Party, is that astroturf I’m smelling? Walt, are you pulling your arguments out of Rob Ford’s ass or your own?

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