Comment 109467

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 16:11:20

Re: Editorial: A Hamilton divided, Feb 12.

Thanks for a balanced explanation of the area-rated tax system being used to finance public transit in Hamilton. It is unfortunate that this lingers on 15 years after our communities were legally combined into one city.

I use the HSR and even though I live in Stoney Creek, I enjoy good service because my home is close to the former border with Hamilton. I pay the same fare and can ride just as long and far as any other HSR user, but like all other residents of the former suburbs, I pay less than a third of the tax rate that is imposed on residents of old Hamilton.

That’s not fair. It means that the lowest income parts of our city pay much higher rates than the highest income parts. And it also continues to cripple HSR service to the suburbs where improvements are definitely needed.

Instead of six different tax rates for transit there should be no more than two – one for those who live in urbanized areas who have bus service, and another for those who live in the rural area where buses don’t go. The latter could even be zero.

Council has failed to fix this 15-year-old problem because too many councillors believe that their residents will put lower taxes ahead of fairness and a good public transit system. We need real leadership at city hall on behalf of the whole city.

If we’re not all going to pay the same tax rate for transit, an alternative might be proposed of different tax rates based on kilometres of roads per person – a calculation that would mean far higher taxes in the former suburbs.

Don McLean
Stoney Creek

hamiltonnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-area-rating-for-transit-makes-little-sense/

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