Comment 56451

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 00:34:08

goin'downtown, from 2005-09, the social services budget (including social housing) has increased at a rate of 5.8% per year, while the number of people on welfare has increased by 4.4% per year. That works out a 1.32% increase per year per person on welfare. To cover these costs, grants from other levels of government have increased at a rate of 10.8% per year.

Perhaps what Rob Rossini meant to say when he was talking about budget pressures was city employee salaries, which have increased at a rate of 8.9% per year. In fact, according to the 2009 annual report, city wage costs per full time employee has increased by 6.8% per year. Compare that with 1.32% for people on welfare and the 2.8% for Ontario workers, which when divided by the extra million in population, works out to about 1% per year.

Does it seem fair that Hamilton city workers have seen their pay/benefits increase at a rate 6X faster than Joe Taxpayer? To be clear, if city employee wages had been fixed from 2005-09 to average Ontario wages, those costs would have increased around 5.4%, saving taxpayers $164.6 MILLION DOLLARS on our 2009 tax bill.

Therefore, instead of having Hamilton city expenditures increase by 9.9% per year, it would have only been 6.7%. When you consider that Ontario GDP only increased by 1.8% in that same time frame, doesn't it concern you how fast Hamilton City Hall is spending our tax money and how little it's helping the economy? Is it a coincidence that people now have record personal debt, while wage benefits per full time Hamilton city employee averaged $106 THOUSAND a year in 2009?

>> Would you live in Hamilton if there were no parks?

Do parks need to be maintained at an average of $106k per full time employee?

>> the people that I hand my credit card (taxes) to at City Hall are elected officials

That doesn't negate the fact that anyone, no matter how moral, or caring, still does not know the optimal way to spend your money so as to maximize its utility to you. Only you know that. That's why a large percentage of Christmas gifts are returned every year, people can't read the preferences of other people, that's just a fact. If you don't believe me, why not give all of your money to City Hall and let them spend it for you. If you won't do that, then it proves you don't believe that government spending will produce as much happiness for you as will personal spending.

>> what do you propose the City do right now in regards to this specific issue at hand within this thread, i.e. the Pan Am Games currently awarded to Hamilton

Get out of it. Sell Ivor Wynne to anyone that wants it and return the Future Fund money to taxpayers. If the Ti-Cats can't charge enough in ticket prices and merchandise, it proves that people don't really care about them. Taxes are for sewers and roads, not sports teams.

>> what are your economic forecasts (business retention, business expansion, business attraction, population) upon implementation of your suggestions

Hamilton was a boom town before we had income taxes in Canada. Alberta has the lowest taxes and lowest spending in Canada and it had a GDP of $66.8K per person in 2009. In contrast, Ontario's GDP per person was only $43.8K. And in case you think that it is all oil exports that is driving their good fortunes, keep in mind that exports as a percent of Alberta's GDP in 2009 was 51.7%, while exports as a percent of Ontario's GDP in 2009 was 48.8%.

It is the larger role of the private sector in Alberta and the better allocation of capital that has allowed Alberta workers to be more productive than anywhere else in Canada. In fact, business fixed capital formation in Alberta comprised 25.3% of GDP in 2009. In contrast, Ontario business fixed capital formation in 2009 was only 14.4%. Business fixed capital formation includes factories and machinery, something Hamilton used to have lots of before we gave the government control over our economy.

I make these suggestions in the hopes that someone spreads the word or sees the truth in what I am saying. We have tried big government for over fifty years and the result has been steady economic decline. Yet the Ryan McGreal's of the world keep spouting the same line, LRT is different, WH stadium is different, bike lanes will bring in business leaders. It's the same thing, more government spending that will crowd out private sector spending. It hasn't worked, it won't work and to say it will is either disingenuous or just plain ignorant.

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