Letter: How about no tax increase?

Writer urges "all taxpayers to contact city hall and demand a “zero per cent” tax increase this year."

I am quite excited at the announcement that Chilliwack City Council is looking at a tax increase that is very much in line with the rate of inflation this year. I am disappointed that they have not gone all the way to the much needed “zero per cent” amount.

Our economy has been functioning below par since 2008.    Economists and other forecasters continue to predict growth at the beginning of the year, only to revise their figures downward later, citing unforeseen factors that take a toll on our economy. We all know the financial scene is not getting any brighter, and the end result is that taxpayers are being forced to dip further into fixed incomes. It has to end somewhere, and I say we are there now.

The continued rationale for regular tax increases states, “If we don’t continue to raise taxes in small amounts there will have to be a large increase in the future.” And of course programs demanded by the voters might fail. This deception reminds me of the “Too Big to Fail” Wall Street Banks in 2008. Give us your money or your way of life will become uncomfortable. Enough of this emotional blackmail! I say, “the city must learn to live within its means.” Tell the lobbyists and developers that Chilliwack city council is accountable to the constituents. Some of the “cutting-edge” programs and new highway signs may have to be put on hold while the economy is struggling.

For all levels of government, no one believes there is a shortage of tax revenue. Examples of waste abound. From the “Financial Black Hole” that is the Golden Ears Bridge, to paying two CEOs for Trans-Link, to a vacant city-owned building that used to be called “Candy Land,” there are many places where all levels of government could tighten their belt. We are looking for political representatives who place the well being of the constituents above corporate profits.

The city’s proposal of a tax increase that is pegged to inflation is a good start. But, Abbotsford has declared at least a zero percent increase, and maybe even a tax decrease. We didn’t have the “Heat” draining our funds, but Chilliwack is still a town in need of tax relief. I urge all taxpayers to contact city hall and demand a “zero per cent” tax increase this year.

Gary Raddysh

Chilliwack