City council’s recent decision not to consider the repercussions of a zero, one and two per cent tax hike leaves me perplexed. It also leaves me wondering if their air is so rarified they’re lacking oxygen.
This is not to say I am buying into Councillor Cam Guthrie’s political grandstanding as a tax-busting champion of the little guy.
His heart’s in the right place, and there is a logic in his rejected proposal to examine all budget options and possible ramifications.
That said, Guthrie is living in and promoting a black and white world when the reality is many shades of grey. Black and white is sexy, sells and makes for great sound bites. Grey, not so much so.
However, Guthrie is making hay at the expense of the majority who come across as elite know-it-alls. Nothing ticks off an electorate more than condescending politicians telling those who voted for them that they know what’s best.
I read about the recent budget debate from afar while on vacation. The optics are not good and getting a tad tiresome, too. It’s as if residents have no collective memory.
First the death notice. It will cost 8.5 per cent more next year to maintain the same service levels as this year. However, staff will use three per cent as the tax guideline. For this we are supposed to be thankful?
The biggest laugher for me was when it was suggested that just because a three per cent hike is the benchmark, it could come in less. I can foresee a 2.99 per cent increase, perhaps after some financial dipsy-doodling. But does that suffice?
I know all of this sounds most curmudgeonly, but I have to wonder who some members of council are hanging out with. They seem almost insulated from Main Street, Guelph.
Do they realize that while our city may be affluent, not everyone has nice-paying jobs and benefits working at the University of Guelph, City of Guelph, Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and such?
In other words, we are a wealthy public sector town, but there is a good chunk of the population that are working stiffs who probably would like to see how a zero, one and two per cent tax bill would affect their lives.
I have no doubt that the hearts, minds and ideals of the majority who snuffed Guthrie’s budget overtures are in the right place.
However, in politics optics are everything, and their optics are not good.
Perception is reality, and my perception is that the ‘three per centers’ feel that they know what’s best for us and have little faith in their constituents to discern what sacrifices should and should not be made during budget deliberations. firstname.lastname@example.org