Hamilton Municipal Taxes Increasing

It sounds like Hamilton city taxes are going up. What I find surprising is they are already among the highest in the province and maybe the country. For a city in such decay it's surprising so much money is already going into the coffers. After cuts to spending, the solution is to attract new investment, new business and the employees that come along with it. Clearly the status quo can't handle the burden now being asked of them.

How is this related to the Tiger Cats? An IT businessman rescued the city's football team, brought business to the community and his family has donated millions to local charities. An opportunity comes along to build a new stadium (mainly with other people's money) and city council is within a hair of blowing it away. The response should have been, "Bob, thank you for all you've done. Where would you like the new stadium?" But instead we've witnessed a combative approach mired in special interests and hidden agendas.

If Hamilton is going to revitalize itself more Bob Youngs are required. However, given how the city has treated the one they have I doubt another one is eager to present him/herself. The Fred Eisenburgers wanted Bob Young to personally finance the stadium while they would pose for re-election campaign photos outside of it. This is the essence of the current problem: expecting other people to pay for your wish list.

Hamilton's tax problem boils down to 3 things the present council has no control over

  1. The decisions over the years to keep increases lower most often involved deferring scheduled maintenance of infastructure thus increasing the overall costs of maintenance over the long run. We have been pushed to the point that we have to spend more just to fall further behind because prudent measures weren't taken over the past 30 years.
  2. For many reason the present council has no control over but seems to be following the same path that caused much of it there has been a massive shift in our job market as many good paying jobs have left for poorer paying jobs
  3. The province downloaded social services to the city and we are subsidizing other cities' welfare roles by having a much larger number of welfare cases

Council can't correct the past but they should learn from it. What needs to be done now is either cut or increase revenue, or both. As cuts are most painful and require the most political courage (something this council hasn't demonstrated) then the easiest thing to do is attract new business. After how poorly they've treated Bob I say that option may not even be available to them.

The province downloaded services in response to the feds cutting transfer payments.

The problem with attracting business is that we have to reduce taxes in order to do that. The only way to reduce taxes is to cut spending but in order to crawl out of the hole we are in we need to increase spending in infastructure spending leaving cuts to other areas putting us at a break even point at best. I think think the best course of action would be to spend $100's of millions more on road and sewer repairs, demanding local contractors do the work and start to eliminate the entitlements that sports and entertainment receive. The new stadium in an odd way should result in a tax savings as we spend no capital funding from general revenues and reduce the annual net cost of running IWS. If Sam Merulla can see the logic in that it can't be that difficult but alas we still have the majority of council that created the mess so logic isn't expected by me

I agree 100% with your view of the Caretaker. Dealing with small-minded politicians has got to be frustrating. As for the tax increases, I think people are delusional if they want city services but don't want to pay for them. I grow weary of the Republican mantra that cutting taxes creates jobs.

Pat Lynch(the old guy who doesn't mind paying taxes)

You don't need to cut spending to attract new business, although I believe it is prudent and inevitable. You have to create a business-friendly environment and be prepared to give up something to get something. Hamilton is too entrenched in an anti-business/pro-union mentality which is holding back renewal. The CAW doesn't invest money or build plants which is exactly what Hamilton needs right now. Council should be approaching companies like KIA and saying, "What would it take to get your first North American plant in our town?" Can you see Sam Muerella doing that?

Well, does raising taxes create jobs? Of course it can create government jobs, but we can't all work for the government. Government job wages come primarily from the private sector. Responsible taxation has proven to stimulate the economies of many countries, Sweden included.

This has nothing to do with unions. It has everything to do with high taxes and red tape. The only way to cut taxes is to reduce spending overall and that can't happen. The red tape issue could be resolved overnight if council stopped empire building and other shady if not illegal practices. The business that comes to Hamilton doesn't have to deal with unions if it chooses not to

I can't see Sam Merulla doing anything other than his usual posturing.

Pat Lynch(the old guy)

It's about a union mentality that is anti-business. Look at the way Bob Young has been villified by city councillors, media, special interests groups, other individuals. What right minded business wants to choose Hamilton to build their plant when they could go to business-friendly places like London, Mississauga, Waterloo, etc?

Also, a company often doesn't have an option other than deal with a union, otherwise there'd be far less unions.

No its about influence peddling through zoning and licencing in order to block one business in favour of another. Union mentality has nothing to do with it. My councillor is the worst offender and he's anything but pro-union. He could not be further from it

When business people I know speak of Hamilton, union mentality comes up. The bottom line is Hamilton does not have a reputation as being pro-business and as a result business is leaving thus forcing municipal taxes up. Why Bob hasn't cut bait and headed for better waters is beyond me.

Unions aren't anti-business. Businesses that provide a decent living wage and safe working conditions don't fear unions. It is the Walmarts of the world that fear unions. Sadly in this era of globalization, many jobs go to low wage countries or Canadians are forced to accept low wage part-time work. I would take union membership over Conrad Black anytime. But that's just my opinion. :smiley:

Pat Lynch(the old guy)

I won't fully demonize unions but they have become a large part of the problem operating in Hamilton.

Chedoke ski hills became unprofitable (leading to it's closure) because of the union wages that had to be paid, often to part-time workers.

Opera Hamilton is moving out of Hamilton Place due to some of the highest rental charges in the country. It's not allowed to negotiate separate deals with the numerous theatrical unions involved so HECFI must pass on labour costs.

The union agreement (ratification???) that snuck thru (via a missed fax) a few years ago bumps up the cost of most City projects due to City projects to being locked into higher union wages.

I'm not looking for slave wages but such examples lead to missed business opportunities, facilities being lost, higher taxes for costly City projects, etc.

Yes but none of that makes a lick of difference to a company's decision to locate here

Are you referring to my post?

If so, I believe you're wrong as recreational, sporting, cultural, etc amenities help in determining the attractiveness of a community.

Would you want to set up shop in a vibrant, active community or a place where everything shuts down after 5pm and there's nothing to do?

AND, higher wages will help steer business opps away though it's not as bad here as in the U.S. where they can offer other incentives (ie, Siemens). Look at all the industries that set up in the southern states due to non-union wages and arrangements.

I'm not saying there is no need for unions but they can be their own worst enemy at times, especially with the loony-left. anti-business mentality prevalent in Hamilton.

It's almost always an "us against them" mindset that does no one any good.

But we have all of those rec programs with unions making your position on unions affecting them and driving away business a mischievous act not based on truth. The fact is that the workforce business hires is union or non union based on the business they chose and how they chose to run it, nothing else. Its just as likely to need to have a union to operate a business in another city in Ontario as it is here because we all have to adhere to the same laws that the city has no control over .

But the individual cities get to negotiate their own union settlements if I'm not mistaken.

Thus the reason for the high operating costs of many City-run facilities, making them relatively uncompetitive on an open market, eg, the Chedoke ski hill closing, high costs (and subsidies required) at golf courses and City run facilities like Hamilton Place, Copps, etc.

The City has often complained about the higher costs for many City projects and services due to being locked in to certain union agreements, while another arm of the City negotiates those agreements.

Is City Council involved in this somehow ??? :roll:

Again what or how the city pays its employees does not impact what or how private business does and has no bearing on a city's attractiveness as a place to invest. NONE. Yours is just union bashing for the sake of union bashing following no logic and attempting to spread falsehoods to discredit unions. Pro union or anti union your take on the role that unions play in investing in Hamilton are completely wrong

In your opinion. The opinion of the people who decide where to locate their business is their own too. The mentality of potential workforce enters into the decision, that I can assure you.