Editorial: Taxes and the need for them

Reducing taxes is not always the solution in municipal budgets

Complaining about property taxes is as old as the hills around Sooke. No one likes to pay taxes of any kind, but in order to maintain everything we have come to expect, we have to pay for it. Since the municipality doesn’t earn money on its own, then it is the residents and businesses who pay. Pretty simple basic fact.

Commercial enterprises do pay a lot more tax, that is a fact. Is it fair? Probably not. If there was more of a commercial base in Sooke, then there is the chance taxes would go down for all. Of course we could use more businesses in the town core, but because we are a bedroom community this is unlikely on a larger level. Yes, we can supply the basics, but people being as they are will still drive to “town” to shop. They just think they’ll find bargains and more selection.

To lower the taxes on commercial would mean that to maintain the same budget then the residents would have to pay more. Can the district cut their expenses? Probably somewhat, but what would you want to do without? Fire and police protection? Staff? Community grants? Library? Yes taxes have gone up, but so have the services,  road improvements, obligations and expenses.

It is easy to complain but when you want things to happen in your community then you have to be prepared to pay for it. The huge rallying cry in elections is often taxes and while some may want to change the rates, it is not as easy as all that. It’s a complicated business and that’s why we have financial officers who can put the dollars in the right columns.

People want their property values to remain high in case they want to sell and they want them low when the tax bill comes in. You can’t have it both ways.

Like the old saying by Benjamin Franklin goes,  “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

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