Streamlining City Hall And Controlling Taxes

If small business can’t fight City Hall, then City Hall should not be fighting small business.

While I celebrate a new major employer relocating to Abbotsford, research indicates that the vast majority of jobs are created by small, local businesses. Small business is the heartbeat of our community. Yet many times City Hall forgets how vulnerable small businesses are to costs of regulation and bureaucracy’s potential to eliminate the ability to make profit possible. If elected, I am committed to finding ways to streamline regulatory processes so as to free up more of the entrepreneurial spirit that this city is known for. We need local small businesses to thrive and create sustainable employment for the citizens of Abbotsford. As an elected official, I will support the growth and success of our local businesses. To create a friendly city, our elected representatives must be friendly to small business.

Escalating property taxes are the concern of both business owners and residents alike. We all know that taxes are necessary to pay for the services, facilities and infrastructure demanded by our citizens. But in order for taxes to be acceptable they must be fair. Furthermore, City Council must be trustworthy in the way it spends the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. If elected, I promise to do two things to combat escalating property taxes:

  1. City Council needs to listen more to the quiet many, not just to the noisy few. After all, Council members are stewards of the money obtained through taxation. In order for taxation to be perceived as fair, it must be understood as necessary to pay for the things we need. Defining “needs” and “wants” is not always easy. But in this day of belt-tightening, we must do a better job of listening to how our community defines those words. Defining the difference between needs and wants requires a nonpartisan approach and careful prioritizing of the things we actually need. Fiscal responsibility must be undertaken with the precision of the scalpel not the slashing of a butcher knife. In order to be responsible with the tax monies entrusted to City Council by the citizens of Abbotsford, they must understand the needs of the citizens and create policies that guide our budgeting process. Using these policies, City Hall can instruct staff, when needed, how to search for and find ways to do more with less. We simply cannot continue to raise property taxes as the only answer to burgeoning demands. I am committed to continue listening, developing policies and doing my best to keep property taxes from escalating further.
  2. City Council needs to ‘raise the bar’ regarding its relationships with senior government. We need them to hear our voice amidst the shouts of so many others. We need to have serious discussions with our Provincial and Federal Governments who, over the course of many years, have downloaded services that were their responsibilities. We cannot continue to spend local tax dollars on infrastructure (Highway 1 interchanges). That is the responsibility of our Provincial and Federal governments. If they want us to provide these services, we need to have a share of the tax revenues they collect to support such endeavors. Our senior governments must understand that federal funding deficits and provincial priorities cannot be loaded on the backs of municipal taxpayers. I will need your voice and support to accomplish this. We will be heard not by shouting louder, but by together carrying a determined message to those representing us in Victoria and Ottawa.