The Garden City Refugee

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Niagara Region Budget Survey

November 15, 2023

An interesting item came across my feed recently. Apparently the Region is preparing its 2024 budget and claims to want our input. So they’ve put up a survey. Tell us which services are a priority for you, they say.

But as one would expect, they really don’t want to know what we have to say. They want us to give them the answers they want to hear and designed the survey accordingly. Not once was there an opportunity to offer any feedback beyond the leading multiple-choice questions. And right from the first screen, anyone with half a brain could tell what they’re setting us up for.

After a year of historic inflation, high interest rates and revenue shortages, local government is facing a challenging time. Much like household costs, the price for fuel, materials, and other items that keep our Regional operations have also gone up, in many cases these increases in material costs have been significant.

Municipal property taxes are the primary way to pay for programs and services provided by Niagara Region. Rising costs means making some tough choices when it comes to regional budgets. There is no way to maintain current services without raising property taxes.

You guessed it. Hold on to your wallets, because there’s a massive tax increase coming. And this survey is specifically crafted so the politicians can throw it back in our faces and say, “You asked for it.” Typical cover-your-ass strategy. Taking the coward’s way out rather than stop spending like drunken sailors.

Housing came up more than once in the survey. The Region is “investing” in building more affordable housing and supporting activities to make housing more attainable in our community. This in addition to “investing” for those in need to address growing homelessness in the community. Naturally, it hasn’t occurred to these yahoos that taxing people out of house and home is a major contributing factor to the housing and homelessness crisis. To them, the solution to every problem is a tax. Create an everlasting dependence on the same government that put them in that ditch in the first place. Somewhere, the late Jack Layton is smiling.

There was a question on policing. It’s an important service to our community, they say. And it is. But during the war, the NRP had a choice. They could have honored their oath to uphold the Constitution and protect us. Or they could have disregarded their oath and protected the government. They chose the latter. So I chose the “reduce funding of NRP” option. Why pay for services we’re not getting?

A subsequent question dealt with child care. I didn’t even know the Region funded child care. And I wonder why they do. I fondly remember a bygone era when parents bore the costs of raising their own children and no doubt I’ll be branded a radical extremist for checking the “cut services to reduce taxes” option.

I almost laughed when I got to the questions about economic development and development initiatives. They claim to be committed to creating an environment that allows businesses to flourish, yet they offer a “increase growth attracting initiatives by increasing property taxes” option. How increasing taxes drives economic development is something this old country bumpkin can’t quite get his head around. But maybe I’m just not enlightened like our wise masters at the Region. I should just trust their judgment. Or not.

Naturally, there was no opportunity to provide input as to which services could be scrapped entirely. Like the rainbow-colored crosswalks. The untold millions spent on “public health.” Public death would be a better term. For example, consider the regional poison clinics that operated during the war. Even the most fanatical pro-poison zealots would have a hard time defending why the Region was duplicating services being well served by the private sector. Anyone determined to shorten their lifespan could simply walk in to their nearest pharmacy. There’s one on practically every street corner. Let’s not forget the massive salaries paid to monsters like Mustafa Hirji. Not only would eliminating this department save a ton of money, it would save so many lives as well. And the list goes on.

But no. Tax ’em ’till it hurts. Because they care.

About themselves.

Not about you.

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