Counting "tax reform" votes...

Which councillors are voting yes, which ones are voting no and which ones are on the fence.


Having talked with most of the Halifax councillors about "tax reform," and otherwise listened to their public statements, I can pretty much forecast how each will vote next Tuesday, when "tax reform" finally comes before council. As follows:
Streatch: No
Dalrymple: ?
Hendsbee: Yes
Nicoll: No
McCluskey: No
Fisher: No
Barkhouse: No
Smith: No
Wile: ?
Blumenthal: Leaning No
Sloane: Yes
Uteck: Yes
Watts: No
Walker: No
Hum: Leaning Yes
Mosher: No
Adams: No
Johns: No
Harvey: Leaning Yes
Outhit: Leaning No
Rankin: Yes
Lund: Leaning Yes
That's 12 "No"s, out of 23 councillors-- apparently enough to defeat the motion.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as that. I understand that there's been a lot of behind-the-scenes lobbying of councillors, trying to get them to budge a bit. I'm guessing that'll take the form of "let's send this back to committee," or of trying to piece meal it-- bring in some aspects of "reform" now, and come back to others later.

Stephen Adams, for example, has said definitively that he's against this proposal, in its current form, but he has an alternative proposal--- a complicated notion of capping assessments through sales, if I understand correctly. It's unlikely his ideas will be taken up whole by council, but with a bit of horse trading, just about anything could come out it.

On the other side of the equation, as I report in today's paper, some academics are coming up with an alternative "reform" proposal, which is basically an attempt to bring a municipal income tax in through the back door. I believe that councillor Jennifer Watts will champion this idea.

Personally, while I'm not hugely opposed to it, I'm not entirely keen on the income tax model, either. I think our existing property tax system is perfectly fine, because it works as a bit of a wealth tax, the only one we have in this society, and we shouldn't lose that.

My fear at this point is that all these competing "better ideas" for "reforming" our tax system will keep the ball in play, and as we move forward, at least some of the horribly regressive parts of the present proposal will continue to see the light of day.

I'd rather council kill the effort outright. Leave the tax system alone, and move on.

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