The Death of a Car City

stages+of+grief

Bargaining

At this point, you will inevitably say something along the lines of:

“We don’t have to double taxes, we just have to cut the waste.”

“Police spending is out of control, that’s why we don’t have enough money.”

“Eliminate red tape, find efficiencies!”

“Zero-based budgeting is the answer.”

“The Province/Feds just need to step up.”

It’s clear you’ve arrived at the bargaining stage.

Rather than accept the death of your dream, you’re grasping at straws trying to find a way to pay for it all. Look, I’m not saying your ideas are bad. We probably should implement some of them, maybe even all of them. But what kind of savings are you expecting to find? 5%? 10%? Not bad, but we need something closer to 55%.

And what do those kinds of cuts look like? We could completely eliminate ALL of the police department ($312.7 million in 2021), and ALL of the fire and paramedic department ($216.3 million in 2021). Then we’d only have about $100 million to go! A measly 15% tax increase should bridge that gap…

Again, these are crazy, impossible numbers. No one is going to find 55% savings in our operating budget. No one.

And if you think the operating budget has nothing to do with capital spending on roads, then with all due respect, you don’t understand accounting.

So what about other levels of government? Well, given that the Province is already in a deficit position, which provincial services do want to see cut? Healthcare? Education? Or maybe you think some provincial government is going to campaign on raising the provincial sales tax by 2%, taxing the entire province in order to hand all of that money to just the City of Winnipeg?

Let’s face it, that imaginary government will never get elected.

And the Feds? Couldn’t they just borrow the money for us? I mean, I guess they could… But what makes us think we can demand that the children and grandchildren of the people of Halifax, Toronto, and Calgary should be the ones to pay for our roads, when we’re unwilling to tax ourselves to do it at the city level?

There is no way to find the kind of money we need in order to maintain and replace even a fraction of the roads we already have. Sorry.

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