Thursday, 21 February 2013

Industrial Development Fee Scheme

When I heard of the two and a third times increase in development fees for new and expanding commerce, I made myself available to listen in at the Regional Development Charges Policy Task Force. 
I sat quietly and listened to the only councilor pleading the case for survival of our vital Commerce and Industry, which are suffering the onslaught of regional tax burners. Yes it was Pariah-Petrowski laying it on the line for our Industry, Commerce and above all Employment. It was Petrowski rocking the boat by reminding the committee that much of our industry is on the critical list.

It’s hard to understand how we can bemoan the loss of so many of our companies, with their exponential loss of jobs, while those in a comfortable and relatively secure employment situations continually denigrate those same companies, which are in fact the lifeblood of our society. Worse, they then attack anyone who would stand up for Industry, Commerce and Employment.

Perhaps we should ask those who are made redundant by our loss of industry, if they think the shortfall of a few hundred dollars in fees is equal to hundreds of jobs producing the prosperity we seek. The message, which is becoming clear, is that our valued institutions suffer with the increasing failure of our various industries.

Note the $13million shortfall of our new hospital.

The hospital is not alone. A preponderance of our institutions are now facing ever-increasing funding deficiencies and related cutbacks and closures and all predicated on our colossal loss of industry. 

Our industries are under extreme pressure from all sides. They are being targeted by other governments that have learned the true value of the jobs our industries bring, while our industries are trying to survive under our government that treats them as tax fodder.

Certainly times have changed from the heady days when folks raced to Niagara for the many prized industrial jobs, which were begging for workers. Now, many of those industries are elsewhere and hiring workers elsewhere. No, not just any jobs, but highly skilled and technical jobs that our government says are in such short supply that industry is faced with importing workers from other countries! 

Strange how we spend the world’s highest amount of tax dollars to educate our young citizens for diminishing Niagara jobs while we’re constantly told we must import better educated workers.

 Higher Taxes and increased Fees on industry costs competitiveness and means less jobs, elevated unemployed and even more abject poverty; a costly level of misery which will destroy everything that our collective governments profess they want to achieve.

Unfortunately, raising ‘development fees on Industry, Commerce and Employment’ is simply a Machiavellian method to divert attention away from the Region’s failure to adequately husband our economy.

For all those who think that they will escape increased property tax by the dumping of more taxes and fees on the back of our ‘Industry’ will just love the greater increase in their property tax to support those made redundant by the loss of ‘Industry’. 

Whether good times or bad, Niagara’s Industrial, Commercial and Employment diminution can be charted over the last four decades from the inception of Niagara Regional Government to near bottom of most surveys! 
 -Preston Haskell

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