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EDITORIAL: Count the cost of election promises

Any campaign promises, if delivered, will come at a cost
Nominations have closed for the next civic election to be held on Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Elections BC)

When candidates speak of the goals they have if elected, these promises need to be considered carefully.

During the local government campaign period, some candidates have talked about initiatives they wish to promote, while others have promised to keep taxes low or provide tax relief.

Any of these promises, if delivered, will come at a cost.

Setting up a new initiative, upgrading roads or utilities, replacing aging facilities or other public projects will require money. Even if grant funding is available, a community needs to pay a portion of the costs.

And if the promise is to minimize tax increases or provide tax relief, that also comes with a cost.

Each year, municipalities face increases in the costs of providing their services to the public. These include costs of supplies as well as contractual increases. These increases, without any new initiatives or spending, will require a tax increase. In addition, roads, water systems, sewer treatment facilities and other services will require regular maintenance in order to function efficiently.

If a government works to hold steady on property taxes, or to provide tax relief, the question to ask is which services should be reduced or eliminated, or which capital projects should be deferred or scrapped entirely. This will affect the quality of life in our communities.

Still, the promise of tax freezes or tax relief has some appeal, especially during this year’s election campaign.

In 2022, Canada’s rate of inflation is much higher than in the past, reaching its highest level in close to 40 years. In July, the rate was 7.6 per cent and in June it was 8.1 per cent. The increase in food prices is higher than the average price increase. The price of fuel has also risen significantly. However, wages are not rising at the same rate as inflation.

The choice to expand services or take on capital improvements comes at a cost to the taxpayers. The choice to push for low taxes or tax cuts has potential implications for the community.

Candidate platforms need to be considered before casting one’s vote. When it comes to spending, there are costs to consider no matter what course of action is chosen.

— Black Press

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