Schinners Says City Taxes Too High, Vows for Tax Cuts

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Former Mayoral  candidate and current Ward 2 candidate Ron Schinners says  that city taxpayers have been misled for years by tax and  spend politicians who claimed that Sault Ste. Marie municipal  taxes were in line or better than other Ontario cities.“Not  the case at all,” stated Schinners, who is also the  President of the Sault Ste. Marie Taxpayers’ Federation.

“Sault MPP David Orazietti has conceded that the  cityreceives provincial government funding five times the  provincial average yet municipal taxes rates are still among  the highest in Ontario.”

Millions of dollars of funding comes by way of the Ontario  Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF), a provincial transfer  program which helps municipalities with the cost of operating
social programs and services. Schinners said that in 2015,  the city received $16 million, which was five times  the provincial average. That is just part of the funding.

Over $15 more came from other programs.   “Despite the fact that these career politicians have been  telling us that zero percent tax increases are not possible  and that they have to raise taxes within the rate of  inflation, neither of these things make any sense. The
facts are that instead of using the millions of dollars of  external funding to off set property tax increases, they took  the money, and then went on foolish spending sprees.

“Those who voted for the2013 budget that spent $50,000 on  carpet replacement at the civic center and $200,000 to  replace carpet at the main branch library. Does spending
more than it would cost for a price of a house on carpet  sound like fiscal responsibility?” Schinners stated that  over the last term, council voted to increase residential  taxes by a total of 8.62%while increasing spending, and  helping to balloon the city’s operating budget to its  highest figure in Sault Ste. Marie’s history. The city  budget was $168,008,864 in2010.

Schinners claims that with  out of control spending and tax hikes, the city budget was
raised to $183,509,351 in2014, an increase of 9.23%. “ I  will put an end to this by exposing the truth, what career  politicians might not want you to hear. The annual public
sector salary disclosure act reveals that tax hikes have  added more members to the Sunshine Club.

In 2006, there  were only 16 employees of the City of Sault Ste. Marie who
made public salaries of more than $100,000. By 2014, there  were 124 employees making that. The “Sunshine Club” has  expanded by1,290% in eight years due to many budgets that
were supported by tax and spenders. It’s time to put a  stop to the gravy train. It’s time to start respecting the  taxpayer.”