City Analysis also reveals tax would amount to millions
Proposed ‘reconciliation grant’ to First Nations should go to referendum, watchdog says; supporters disagree, Times Colonist, Jan. 15, 2022.
The city has released its New Assessed Revenue and Lekwungen Land Acknowledgement Report with background and estimates of the controversial proposed reconciliation tax for 2002-21.
“We are pleased the city has made this important report on a supplemental budget item available to the public,” says Stan Bartlett, vice-chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$.
The one-page report provides background and the financial implications of any reconciliation tax in the City of Victoria.
“As expected the financial implications to taxpayers are very significant over the 20 year period. The so-called grant payout amounts to millions of dollars to two other sovereign nations, two local First Nations, without the benefit of full deliberation by taxpayers.”
To reiterate, if an issue is controversial, requires a significant contribution of taxpayers’ dollars, or is significant in scale or impact on the community, local governments should go to referendum, according to the province and Grumpy Taxpayer$.
The uproar on coffee row over a proposed municipal reconciliation tax – the latest brainchild of city council in the last months of its mandate – is understandable.
Senior governments, also funded by our tax dollars, are already meeting reconciliation obligations to First Nations. If approved in the supplemental budget, the proposed reconciliation tax would profoundly impact operating budgets in Victoria and amount to the greatest change in municipal taxation in decades.
“Any reconciliation tax must receive broad community discussion and support through a referendum during the fall municipal election or at the least a delay into the 2022 election cycle,” says John Treleaven, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$.
The tax would see 15 per cent of the new assessment revenue every year go to Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. Thereafter it is dramatically compounded, with 15 per cent of the new assessed revenue annually added to the amount transferred the previous year.
The extraordinary idea was overwhelmingly rejected during the recent public engagement survey on the 2022 city budget (Attachment B, pages 432-445). Respondents ranked a ‘reconciliation grant’ 46th out of 49 supplementary budget items. A majority, more than any item, were opposed or strongly opposed.
Our community is now facing very serious issues such as public safety, homelessness, a housing crisis, an opioid crisis, deteriorating infrastructure, rejuvenating the local economy, all during a pandemic. Ask yourself how successful council has been addressing those issues and if there are sufficient resources.
If an issue is controversial, requires a significant contribution of taxpayers’ dollars, or is significant in scale or impact on the community, local governments should go to referendum, according to the province.
Victoria council mulls giving annual grant to First Nations, based on tax revenue,Times Colonist, Nov. 6, 2022.