Every household in Ontario has to have a budget! Every homeowner has to spend LESS than what he/she makes or face BANKRUPTCY!
That is pretty simple yet is the reason homes and lands in Ontario have been successful in being held in a family’s name for generation after generation.
Now one would think that when they elect a fellow neighbour or resident from their own Township to run their Municipal Council and “manage” their tax dollars like a household, would be a no-brainer!
Once these elected “officials” get their seats behind the hand-made Council table in their boardrooms they seem to throw out the “spend less and save more” mentality of common sense, especially when the Province around them is going down in flames around them.
That question has never been answered in a paragraph or two by any “news reporter” let lone answered by the Councillors who spend their way to poverty in most townships across this once great Province.
To try and dissect that little innocuous question would be worthy of a University thesis not to mention a lifetime of research by a great many individuals.
A slight hint to why these Councillors are prone to spats of omnipotence with our tax dollars may be glimpsed at with the following story about the latest FCM Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting just finished in Vancouver B.C.
In Vancouver, the increase in real spending since 2000 has been 50% compared to population growth of 15%. Mark van Manen/Postmedia News
We are having the wrong conversation about municipal financial challenges
Municipal leaders from across Canada will gather in Vancouver later this week for the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference. By their own admission, they have fallen woefully behind on one of their core responsibilities – maintaining basic infrastructure.
The FCM claims that municipal governments are underfunded and have suffered badly from the downloading of responsibilities from more senior levels of government. But at the same time, municipal revenue and spending have skyrocketed. Something doesn’t add up.
So let’s look at some numbers. It’s reasonable to expect that municipal spending would keep pace with the population increase. It is also reasonable to adjust spending for inflation. But spending increases have not even been in the ball park of population and inflation growth. Population increased 12% in Canada between 2000 and 2011 while inflation-adjusted municipal operating spending increased by an eye-popping 55%. In other words, growth in municipal spending is more than four times the reasonable benchmark of what it should have been.
Canada’s big cities have also been big spenders. In Toronto, inflation-adjusted municipal operating growth between 2000 and 2011 was 40% compared to a population growth of 8%. In Vancouver, the increase in real spending since 2000 has been 50% compared to population growth of 15%. In Montreal, real spending has increased 43% since 2006 compared to a 5% increase in population.
This does not sound like the “revenue challenge” conversation that municipalities want to have. But how many of our municipal leaders want to have the much more challenging “overspending” conversation?