The Canadian Ridiculous Federation

Ahh, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Being ridiculous and shortsighted as usual. In a recent piece in the StarPhoenix, Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation thinks that “If they want to fix up the roads, they need to roll up their sleeves and look for tough savings”. “They” of course meaning the City of Saskatoon.

Of course the only suggestion the CTF ever comes up with is to “find savings” but they never come up with concrete suggestions of what to cut, where to cut, how much it will “save” and the long term consequences of those cuts.

According to the recently released 2014 preliminary budget, the City of Saskatoon proposes to increase funding for road repairs by $13.7 million dollar from last year.

So CTF, where could the City find $13 million dollars in “savings” to pay for desperately needed road repairs? Well after perusing the City’s “employment opportunities” page to get some approximate salary numbers,

How about laying off 390 clerk II positions? Does the City even have 390 clerks?

How about laying off 275 accounting clerks? Does the City even have 275 accounting clerks? (hint, no they don’t)

How about laying off 200 industrial mechanics? Does the City even have 200 industrial mechanics? (hint, it’s no, again)

It would be ever so nice if the StarPhoeinx and it’s reporters would challenge groups like the CTF. They should be asking the CTF where and how the City could find these (cough imaginary cough) “savings” and provide hard and accurate details.

In the same article Marilyn Braun-Pollon of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is quoted as saying “A 7.26 per cent hike is going to be a tough pill to swallow … business owners work hard to live within their means,”.

Are these the same business owners complaining to city council that the fees for them to dump snow they have removed from private property are proposed to increase? Really? “Working hard to live within their means” does not mean whining that your subsidy is being reduced.

That’s right. If those snow removal businesses are not paying the full cost of what it costs to dump their snow in a municipal snow dump, they are effectively being subsidized by the taxpayer.

Here’s a suggestion for the City. Close the snow dumps to all but the snow actually removed from public property. Then the private contractors can buy land, build and operate their own snow dump, and pay for their own business expenses. Then they won’t have to complain that their taxpayer funded subsidy is decreasing. Because there won’t be one.

Are these the same business owners who pay a fraction of the income tax that the rest of us do? An incorporated small business owner who pays themselves $50,000 in dividends pays about $3,800 in income tax and no EI or CPP premiums. Their employee who is paid $50,000 in salary pays $12,500 in income tax, EI & CPP. That same small business owner who pays themselves $100,000 in dividends pays $16,000 in income tax while an employee earning the same amount in salary pays $30,500 in tax, EI, & CPP.

So CTF and CFIB, I have a three part question for you. Where should the City cut spending, by how much, and what will the long term consequences be of those cuts?

And, as every mathematics teacher I have ever had would say, show your work.

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