Mayor Katz and Winnipeg City Council have frozen taxes for the last 12 years in a row
With Vancouver facing a possible 8% property tax increase this year, there are some folks who are looking to Winnipeg for inspiration. That's because the City of Winnipeg just finalized their budget, and believe it or not, they were actually able to keep property taxes frozen. In fact, this is the 12th year in a row that Winnipeg has been able to keep their property taxes frozen.
The vote was 11-4 in favour of approving the 2009 operating budget which will come in at about $785 million dollars. The budget didn't come without a few cuts, but Mayor Sam Katz has assured Winnipegers that none of them will impact front-line services.
Needless to say, CUPE reacted very negatively toward Winnipeg's budget.
“Avoiding a tax increase by severely reducing expenditures may have balanced this year’s operating budget, but it is not sustainable considering the significant shortfalls projected for 2010 and 2011,” said Mike Davidson, President of CUPE Local 500.
In a posting on the CUPE website, the union goes on to state:
Some of the reductions highlighted by the Union included $1.4 million to snow removal and $1 million to bridge and road maintenance.
“The City has under-funded maintenance to our infrastructure for the last five years and the deficit will only increase more if we do not allocate sufficient amounts to look after what we have now into the future.”
Davidson also suggested that the City reverse their thinking that the private sector is better able to provide quality public services than the public sector.
“Our experiences all across Canada, is that private delivery of public services or the privatization of public infrastructure is not working. Public sector workers, with the guidance of progressive political leaders, have been proven again and again as the best people to deliver public services.