Vancouver’s strong fiscal record undercuts interest group’s claims on overspending

May 29, 2013 | Jobs and the Economy

Vancouver City Hall’s strong record on low taxes, debt reduction, and controlled spending undercuts a new report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which falsely claims that Vancouver is “headed for financial crisis” in today’s Vancouver Sun.

“Our fiscal record over the past five years is one of the best in Canada, and hysterical claims by the CFIB have no basis in reality,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Just this year alone, the City paid down its debt by $151 million. Our tax increase was just 1.3%, tracking at inflation and among the lowest in the region.”

The CFIB report claims that spending has grown excessively over the past 12 years in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, and says “the real problem is overspending.”

“The real problem isn’t overspending, it’s the continued downloading of senior government responsibilities onto local governments,” added the Mayor. “When our health care system fails someone with a severe mental illness, our police are forced to respond. When the federal government closes our Coast Guard base, it puts the burden of life safety on our police and fire departments.

“With low taxes and declining debt, Vancouver has one of the strongest fiscal records of any city in Canada.”

Vancouver’s fiscal record includes:

  • The City’s net debt reduced by $151.4 million in 2012
  • A 1.3% tax increase in 2013, below the rate of inflation and the lowest in Vancouver in five years
  • A positive credit rating outlook from Standard & Poor’s in October 2012, the second upward revision since January 2009
  • A new deal with civic unions that tracks below the rate of inflation for the four-year agreement
  • Control of staffing levels, with the City employing just two more FT employees (6,639 to 6,637) than it did in 2008