Thursday, 04 August 2016 08:00

Explanation of double standard sought

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In recent letters, Don Robinson has threatened councillors running for re-election will answer for their “mismanagement of civic funds”, but in his latest suggests the very councillors he threatens and continually tries to discredit, are the ones encouraging him.   

He also states our former CAO told him the city finances were in “dire straits”, conveniently quoting somebody no longer working for or living in the city.  He again  discredits the professional auditing services of Stark and Marsh, which do not conclude city finances are “dire straits”.  However I’m sure he could produce a sworn affidavit as a former CAO making such an incriminating statement would want it confirmed they were helpless to implement Don Robinson’s solutions due to the tyrannical rule of the Mayor.
Pointing out Mr. Robinson’s double standard has nothing to do with a political party or Premier Wall, as many including myself, agrees Mr. Wall is very popular and has introduced tax cuts. However, I’ve taken data from the budgets of all levels of government, rather than unnamed sources or my own “figures” so let’s just compare the numbers.
Despite tax cuts, provincial tax revenue has grown from $4.5 billion to $6.9 billion or federal government tax revenue has grown from $181 billion to $238 billion since 2009.  Please explain why that is different than the city growing municipal tax revenue? One explanation might be people earning more money pay more income tax and people spending more, pay more sales tax. That’s also a “tax increase” it just isn’t announced as an increase at each budget, like it has to be for municipalities, much to the benefit of federal and provincial politicians.
Please explain why provincial public debt at $13.9 billion, which has grown by $5.5 billion since 2009 and projected to grow by another $2 billion by 2020, is acceptable to you, but when the city accumulates debt it is considered “out of control spending”. What makes them different?
Please explain why the public utility of another government can increase their rates by 10 per cent in six months and yet when city utilities increase they are condemned in a letter? What’s the difference?
Finally, an operating deficit is when government spends more than they take in and choose to not increase taxes or cut spending to balance the budget.
That “operational deficit” is turned into long-term debt to be paid off at a later date.  Municipalities are not allowed to run an operating deficit.
Don Robinson has described himself as “someone who watches the pennies so the dollars take care of themselves” so I’m sure he can explain why provincial and federal governments are free to, not only grow tax revenue and increase debt, but also run operating deficits without his objection.
One would think someone so opposed to taxes and debt for one level of government would be the same for all, but I think everyone gets the picture. There are simply two sets of rules, which is incredibly convenient for those with a personal vendetta.
I have stood in front of this community to be questioned in four elections, done radio and online shows, community meetings, individual meetings, responded to letters, emails, and interviewed with the media on a weekly basis. I continually stand up for the people of Swift Current, working with and answering to citizens, which is a responsibility that comes from being elected. 
On that note, I don’t respond to Mr. Robinson’s letters to engage in debate, but to clearly illustrate his and his cronies’ predictable pattern of trying to create election year controversies that “only they can fix.”  What a shame.
Jerrod Schafer, Mayor, City of Swift Current

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