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