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LETTER: Spending by all levels of government is 'unsustainable'

'And let’s face it, for the most part, the actual services they offer really suck and are getting even worse,' letter writer says
2022-05-17 typing pexels-donatello-trisolino-1375261
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PelhamToday received the following letter to the editor is about how every level of government spends its tax dollars:

Over the past three years of COVID, we have all become aware of the ongoing problems of government at every level, and the growing number of promises made by politicians of every political party during election campaigns, which are quickly forgotten once they are elected.

COVID had given them the excuse that all our present problems are only a result of COVID and that before 2019/20, they had always delivered on their promises.

Since COVID, the welfare services offered by our governments have been decimated. And none of it started with COVID.

The universal health system is broken, and our public education system is even more so. Those that promised help to the most vulnerable, the growing number of homeless, those youngsters becoming just statistics in the growing opioid crisis, and far too many others, who still believe that government will solve all their problems, have done nothing but to fail and continue to do so.

And all those non-profit agencies and volunteer groups, with only the best of intentions to help their different interests and communities, are also finding it impossible to meet the demands on them without government assistance?

One of the saddest things I read recently was a comment from just an ordinary citizen who, prior to COVID and even during the pandemic, suddenly found that rather than donating to the local food banks was now having to seek help from those same food banks.

Yet our politicians at every level and of every political party continue to claim they are doing a great job and have all the answers; if only we would elect them and give them even more of our tax dollars to ‘invest’ for us and make our lives better. You could have fooled me!

But in spite of all of the above, our increasingly inept politicians, and they are in every political party, are really pretty pathetic in the scheme of things. At least we get to choose who to elect every so often, however wrong we may be in who we choose to vote for.

But one group, the current permanent government, the bureaucrats, civil servants, administrators, et al., are all a part of the best and most exclusive welfare recipients groups in our society.

When I think of the Municipal Act, I believe it should be renamed the Municipal(Welfare)Act.

Written by those same bureaucrats, amended by them from time to time, and endorsed by lawyers retained by each level of government, the entire Municipal(Welfare)Act is ‘funded’ entirely by the taxpayer.

Under this Municipal (Welfare) Act, every member is guaranteed their ever-growing salaries and benefits, plus increases, and each municipal budget includes not just potential increases for current staff but also amounts to cover the cost of new hires as and when required. Great, isn’t it?

Another little tweak just to add more protection to these lucky folk? If a small rural municipality is considered a Zero Growth municipality with a five per cent increase in population over the past 20 years, with no additional infrastructure or services to offer, this doesn’t affect the members of the Municipal(Welfare)Act club. The Municipal Act can be relied on to find some nice amendment that legislates that regardless of any other conditions, the rural municipality in question is mandated to keep growing the size of its town hall staff. In this particular example, the municipality in question, the one where the taxpayer numbers haven’t increased over the past 20 years, is being told they need to have their council approve an increase of 44 per cent over the 2020 budget figure, just the COVID years, and for no other reason than the Municipal(Welfare)Act mandates it. A 44 per cent increase during the three years of COVID?

Just for ‘wages and benefits?'

This is where our tax dollars are going, every municipal budget meeting is all about first approving the number of our tax dollars being set aside for our municipal staff's salaries, benefits and various allowances.

Anything left over, like necessary infrastructure upkeep, any funds required for serious welfare support to vulnerable members of our community, and, god forbid, any attempt to identify affordable housing for anyone? Forget it, the resident of each municipality who actually pays for the Municipal(Welfare)Act recipients, just aren’t that important.

Any resident and taxpayer of any municipality in Niagara should be asking those they elected to produce the figures showing exactly what percent of the total budget is claimed by their town hall staff. Every Niagara resident and taxpayer should be asking their regional representatives the same question.

It can’t be any secret that the continued and out-of-control spending by all levels of government is totally unsustainable and has been for many years.

And let’s face it, for the most part, the actual services they offer really suck and are getting even worse.

Maybe it's time to actually question where the planning and recommendations for all these failing policies originate. The only answer can be that they come from the members of that Municipal(Welfare)Act Club whose only real interest is their own self-interest.

As long as our tax dollars keep rolling in, they don’t really care about those who actually pay for their privileged lives.

Andrew Watts