Thursday, March 23, 2017

Edmonton city councillors will lose a significant tax break after it was axed in the federal budget Wednesday. One-third of their income is tax-free. As of 2019, “non-accountable expense allowances” will become part of taxable income. Coun. Andrew Knack said the decision is overdue. “Part of it is just clarity,” he said Thursday. “It’s simpler to say, ‘Here’s our salary, here are our benefits and they’re fully taxable.’ ”-------------Julie Ali · University of Alberta In the years that I have watched the folks on Edmonton City Council I was surprised at the poor representation. I noted that concerns of citizens about the Katz Arena were ignored. Farmland in the NE got paved over. I am not sure what the folks on Edmonton city council do but it does not seem that they care about the concerns of citizens. But if it is a matter for developers the attention of city council is present. The only solution to the poor representation is to change political hires at every election. It's a good way to ensure that at least for one term we might get heard.---

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/edmonton-city-councillors-to-lose-partial-income-tax-exemption-in-federal-budget?fb_comment_id=fbc_1077309129036156_1077387432361659_1077387432361659#f2c1436b7274fd8

Edmonton city councillors to lose partial income tax exemption in federal budget

Published on: March 23, 2017 | Last Updated: March 23, 2017 6:50 PM MDT
Councillors sit during city council's operating budget discussions. File photo.
Councillors sit during operating budget discussions in a 2013 file photo. CODIE MCLACHLAN / POSTMEDIA
Edmonton city councillors will lose a significant tax break after it was axed in the federal budget Wednesday.
One-third of their income is tax-free. As of 2019, “non-accountable expense allowances” will become part of taxable income.
Coun. Andrew Knack said the decision is overdue.
“Part of it is just clarity,” he said Thursday. “It’s simpler to say, ‘Here’s our salary, here are our benefits and they’re fully taxable.’ ”
In January, councillor salaries were rolled back to $98,362 from $100,873 last year. The existing tax break boosts that income, making salaries equivalent to $116,729 in the private sector. Mayor Don Iveson earns $173,269 per year, compared to $177,695 in 2016. With the tax exemption, his salary is comparable to $218,000 in the private sector.
A 2013 report from the independent council compensation committee recommended eliminating the tax exemption for Edmonton councillors, citing “transparency, fairness, direct comparison and ease of (understanding).”
Knack said a new arm’s-length committee will likely re-examine councillor salaries to determine whether to make up for the lost income.
“We don’t want to assume what was recommended … years ago is still valid today,” he said.
Coun. Ed Gibbons stressed the decision was out of council’s hands: “(The federal and provincial governments) are higher in the pecking order … they can do what they want.
“When we do pick another committee … we can’t go anywhere near it,” he added, noting that independent reviews in the past have compared earnings to similar-sized cities. Calgary eliminated the tax break in 2006.
Iveson spoke about the issue from Ottawa, where he was heading the Big City Mayors’ caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He said he’s not sure when an arm’s-length compensation committee will be established.
“If we did the same as Calgary, then the unfortunate consequence is a couple of hundred thousand more in taxes that are collected from members of council and flowed through to Ottawa and the provinces.” he said in an interview Wednesday.
Knack added there’s no way for councillors to be unbiased in salary discussions, which is why compensation is determined independently.  
“The great thing about the process is it doesn’t matter what I think,” he said. “It shouldn’t be up to us.”
cclancy@postmedia.com

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Julie Ali · 
I never understood why they had this partial income tax exemption in the first place. They are earning a ton of cash. They get their expenses paid. Why do they need to be exempt from the taxes we have to pay in the first place?
LikeReply56 mins
Peter Cooke · 
Because they are politicians. And in Canada politicians are pretty much free to do as they want. People don't fight for thier rights and justice anymore.
LikeReply46 mins
Julie Ali · 
Peter Cooke I guess you are right. I always thought it was unfair that ordinary citizens have to pay taxes on everything they earn but not the councillors.

In a side note, today I was at the legislature where the big wigs (the MLAs) are all yapping and doing nothing. I saw a man mopping the floors. I told him he did more work for the public dollars we spend than all the politicians combined.
LikeReply43 mins
John Paterson · 
That's the only good thing out of that budget.
LikeReply156 mins
Joe Miller
They still don't live on the income of most edmontonians so they don't know what it's like to have to spend wisely.
UnlikeReply355 mins
Julie Ali · 
In the years that I have watched the folks on Edmonton City Council I was surprised at the poor representation. I noted that concerns of citizens about the Katz Arena were ignored. Farmland in the NE got paved over. I am not sure what the folks on Edmonton city council do but it does not seem that they care about the concerns of citizens. But if it is a matter for developers the attention of city council is present.

The only solution to the poor representation is to change political hires at every election. It's a good way to ensure that at least for one term we might get heard.
LikeReplyJust now

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