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Are there any capable muncipal governments?

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I must agree with MSH, Calgary's municipal gov't is abysmal. Our mayor is a tax-and-spend liberal to the nth degree. Some of the other hare-brained proposals and spending schemes from our city hall would make anyone who is responsible for their own dollar shudder with revulsion. Our mayor only knows how to bleat to the province and the taxpayer for more money, and then squander it, only to end up bleating for more. Well, MSH says it all well enough.
Mr. Teabag is back!

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Cities need better "fiscal tools" to boost revenue and continue their role as Canada's economic engines or the country will suffer, big-city mayors told campaigning party leaders Tuesday.

Montreal and Toronto mayors Gérald Tremblay and David Miller laid out their demands for urban municipalities, describing cities' current financial problems as a national issue.

"The fiscal imbalance may be a memory on Parliament Hill but it's still a reality on our city streets," Miller said at a news conference in Montreal organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

CBC

Canada's current large city mayors love to spend other people's money. They are incapable of controlling their own bureaucracies and unions. The last thing that we should do is give them access to the money of federal taxpayers. Tremblay and Miller simply don't know how to say no. They'll approve every crazy scheme to build a bicycle path (in a country where it snows half the year) or fund a community lobbyist - if the promoter makes enough noise.

Most municipal politicians in large cities in Canada have the mindset of failed entrepreneurs. They just need a few more dollars to make the scheme work. They are destroyers of value. The only way they can continue their schemes is if they can take money from people through taxes.

Most people in cities don't know the names of their municipal politicians and voter turn-out in municipal elections is typically around 20%. These are niche political markets. Anyone vaguely organized could easily turf the current politicians out and it will likely happen in the next decade or two. OTOH, things will have to get worse before they get better. I'm waiting for a Proposition 13/Giuliani approach: a municipal politician who promises to cut property taxes in half and fire half the bureaucrats/regulators/inspectors at city hall.

In Canada, municipalities are creatures of the provinces. I'm probably dreaming.

Edited by August1991

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Dear August1991,

I concur with the notion of 'failed entrepreneurs'...at municipal, provincial and federal levels, the people most qualified are already in the private sector. As you have said in the past, upping the pay might bring in quality candidates (matching comparable private sector pay rates), but there would still be no incentive for them to be fiscally responsible. Sadly, if you gave the power of taxation to a free-enterprizer (sic), the goal would become: tax us 100% of our income, and give us nothing. Much like the old commie system.

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Dear August1991,

I concur with the notion of 'failed entrepreneurs'...at municipal, provincial and federal levels, the people most qualified are already in the private sector. As you have said in the past, upping the pay might bring in quality candidates (matching comparable private sector pay rates), but there would still be no incentive for them to be fiscally responsible. Sadly, if you gave the power of taxation to a free-enterprizer (sic), the goal would become: tax us 100% of our income, and give us nothing. Much like the old commie system.

Has TheloniousMonk gone to the Dark Side?

I was referring to municipal governments. At the federal level, we now have Mr. No - Stephen Harper AKA Finance Minister Paul Martin.

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Dear August1991,

Has TheloniousMonk gone to the Dark Side?
Certainly not, but I sure am getting bitter. Some of the asinine proposals coming out of our city hall are leaving me incredulous. One alderman wants to eliminate all of the dumpsters from the downtown core because they attract graffiti and cause messes (when the homeless root through them). Her solution? Eliminate the dumpsters and have twice a day pick up service. With almost all of the dumpsters privately run, who the hell is going to pay for that? Further, the core would be clogged with garbage trucks.

This is just one, minor example of the idiocy that Calgary is experiencing amidst a host of real problems.

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Maybe it's the electorate that's incapable?

Here in Halifax we complained for 3.5 years about our city councilors, than 6 months before an election all councilors were on their best behavior and nearly all of them were re-elected, (with less the a 40% voter turnout) ! I guess we deserve to have these knuckleheads controlling our lives with a turnout like that.

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