Let’s just say, at the very least the op­tics are bad

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - Rob Maclel­lan Rob Maclel­lan is an ad­vo­cate for ed­u­ca­tion and non-pro t or­ga­ni­za­tions. He can be reached at 902-305-0311 or at rob@nsnon­prot­con­sult­ing.com.

Not long ago, this news­pa­per re­ported that hav­ing re­cently lost a fed­eral per­sonal in­come tax break, mem­bers of Truro Town Coun­cil have voted them­selves a raise to o set the re­duc­tion in their net pay.

Mem­bers of Truro Town Coun­cil are hard-work­ing folks, ded­i­cated to the wel­fare of the ci­ti­zens of the town of Truro, and they of­ten spend long hours at monthly coun­cil meet­ings as well as par­tic­i­pat­ing on many of the town’s com­mit­tees and en­gag­ing in, or at­tend­ing var­i­ous com­mu­nity events.

Ad­di­tion­ally, let’s not for­get the nu­mer­ous calls from their ward con­stituents they re­ceive at all hours of the day. is work can be quite an in­tru­sion on their lim­ited per­sonal time, but it stands to rea­son that if they did not en­joy their work as coun­cilors, they wouldn’t be there.

All of them ei­ther still par­tic­i­pate in the work­force or are re­tired. In each case, the stipend they re­ceive for their roles as coun­cilors and/or mayor is likely not their pri­mary source of per­sonal in­come.

We are soon com­ing up on tax time when we du­ti­fully re­port our year’s in­come from all sources, and rec­on­cile the amount of that we must pay to the fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments. As we, or our ac­coun­tants, pore over our re­ceipts, we care­fully scan each new year’s tax doc­u­ments to see what kind of tax breaks we qual­ify for.

While the taxes we pay to the var­i­ous lev­els of govern­ment are es­sen­tial to the num­ber and the qual­ity of ser­vices that these lev­els of govern­ment pro­vide to us, none of us en­joys see­ing our hard-earned dol­lars fly off our pay cheques or out of our bank ac­counts. at said, tax breaks or cred­its are very wel­come.

Most of us have no con­trol over what these an­nual fed­eral and provin­cial tax breaks or cred­its are go­ing to be, and the av­enues open to us to claim make about as lit­tle sense to us as do the up and down prices of gaso­line at the pumps, vary­ing as they will based on the gov­ern­ments of the day. We do, how­ever, take ad­van­tage of ev­ery tax break that comes our way.

One of the fed­eral in­come tax breaks that the mem­bers of town coun­cil have been able to take ad­van­tage of up to this point is they’ve been able to claim up to one third of their coun­cil pay as tax-free.

That’s a pretty nice perk I would say. I’m sure most of us would be very happy if we could also claim a third of our in­comes as tax free as well, and thus leave a bit more of our own money in our own pock­ets. Sadly, this is not an op­tion for most of us.

Hav­ing en­joyed this tax perk or en­ti­tle­ment for quite some time, mem­bers of Truro town coun­cil are not con­tent to give it up in the year to come. Un­like most of us, they have the power to do some­thing about it, and that is ex­actly what they have done. ey have voted in a wage in­crease for them­selves that will off­set the loss in net in­come they would re­ceive by the new fed­eral tax regu- la­tions. Nice move, coun­cil!

We’re not talk­ing about a lot of new money be­ing poured into coun­cil pock­ets; just a tad over $26,000. It is but a drop in the bucket, some might say.

Given the cur­rent eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment with job losses at the Cape Bre­ton call cen­tre, the pos­si­ble loss of jobs at the Hal­i­fax ship­yards due to work be­ing con­tracted to Que­bec, bank branches clos­ing in Parrs­boro and Hantsport, layo s in press and mail­room oper­a­tions at the Cape Bre­ton Post, and other job losses around the prov­ince, it would seem that this re­cent move by coun­cil is ill ad­vised.

As much as busi­ness own­ers have to suck up the costs re­lated to in­creases in the min­i­mum wage, EI and CPP de­duc­tions, and mu­nic­i­pal tax bills, and as much as the rest of us tax­pay­ers have lit­tle con­trol over what we have to pay to the gov­ern­ments, it would bet­ter be­hoove Coun­cil to take this loss of tax break on the chin.

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