Their rate capping motion soundly beaten in the Parliament this week the Libs have declared they will make rate capping an election issue come March 2018. In other words Down but not Out.
Are you burdened by taxes and looking for relief? If so I ask you where you think the relief should come from. Council Rates are an obvious target because they are an in your face tax. It is an annual bill you see and act on.
But is it truly the way to achieve tax relief?
This is the 1st in my efforts to address these questions.
Do you realise that taxes raised by local government accounts for only 3% of taxes raised in Australia. Surely if you want to lighten the tax burden would you not look at the larger taxes. A 10% saving in other words in council rates across the country amounts to a saving of but 0.3% of the countries tax take.
The Libs of course are maintaining that your rates should come under the same scrutiny as the State Parliament. I ask them is this a desirable replacement for the current system wherein YOU DO get a chance to have a say, and twice. Is it more appropriate that a body such as ESCOSA who have overseen extreme increases in water rates and power over the last 10 years.
I put it to all who care that ESCOSA will not necessarily keep rates down as evidenced by the increases in the state utilities over the last decade. If the Utility can convince ESCOSA that a large increase is justified then so too can councils.
Unless the Libs in Government intend to take away your right to have a say the costs of producing a budget will increase as Councils provides both you and ESCOSA an opportunity to contribute.
But only 3 or 4 people I hear from the media and the Libs attend a Council budget public forum and they are not listened too. Speaking for myself they are listened to.
This is what I have heard this year about the budget we will be voting on in Coucnil this month. The public this year has focused on the value of just one, yes one, project which will commit us if proceeded with to an investment of just $30,000.00, or 0.08% of your rates. And the feedback an overwhelming support for the project.
I said earlier you get two goes. New initiatives in our budget are put before the public not only at budget time but are put to the public by way of a specific public consultation.
This project I expect to be included in our budget. Will it happen. Don’t know and the elected members should wait to see what the public will want when it goes out to consultation as a project later this year. And when it does we may actually get a 100 or more from the immediate area impacted by the project have their say; a far cry from the few who responded to the budget consultation.
Other projects included have already been the subject of specific public consultation.
As we sit on the last Monday of this month therefore I will be voting on the budget confident that it does actually have the support of our rate payers.