I object to the celebratory tone with which your article declares Chilliwack’s city tax increase as a wonderful event that we have enjoyed for “several years running.” Each year I request city council to consider a zero per cent tax increase, and it is becoming increasingly more urgent that they do so now.
The over-riding economic climate of our province is still one of economic slow down. Gas prices, at a time when crude oil is so cheap, are astronomical. Food prices are working to keep up to the cost of petrol. B.C. income taxes may be the lowest in Canada, but they made a step skyward in January. It’s going to cost us to keep our drinking water safe. And, 3.44 per cent increase is a major tax hike that will affect the family budgets of all Chilliwack residents. And, this increase will be back again next year, and the year after that.
Through all the good economic times our taxes increased, now in slow times I have asked that we keep the current tax rate for two years in a row. West Vancouver did. For the last two years they have budgeted no tax increase. Perhaps in Chilliwack we could enjoy it for “several years running.”
I must also comment on the grand vision that our elected public servants, in all levels of government, operate. My money is paying for a highway to the Whistler Ski Resort that I cannot afford to visit. My money is paying for the Golden Ears Bridge and the Port Mann Bridge that I avoid to save money. My money is paying for the roof on BC Place, in which I cannot afford to attend a game or a show. And, as I drive from Chilliwack to Vancouver, I feel that I could never pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the grandiose infrastructure that my lowly 1991 vehicle apologetically coughs and sputters to drive on. In B.C., we have the best stuff, but most of us can’t afford to use it.
Your presentation of the tax rate increases in the valley works to sway the argument that we are experiencing low taxes. The actual facts are that we pay very high taxes compared to what my budget can afford. I believe the outrage of those who do not want our water chlorinated will soon move to demand that Chilliwack’s taxes change their yearly upward direction.