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Letter: Be careful what you wish for….


The municipal elections are done and dusted and all that remains is to see what unfolds over the next four years. Mount Pearl Mayor elect Dave Aker stated on the CBC “Morning Show” that the message from voters in his city was loud and clear; it was a message of fiscal prudence and restraint and that voters were willing to make do with “a Chevrolet” as opposed to buying a “Cadillac.”

In St. John’s it is clear from the result that citizens voted for change at city hall. The question that must be asked is, do voters in the capital city understand the type of change they voted for? If one looks closely at the platforms of some of the elected candidates, they are decidedly left-leaning and socially progressive. Personally, I have no issue with progressive policies, but I am also not an ideologue. I firmly believe that governance is a balancing act between ideology and pragmatism. We all have an ideal of what we want and what we hope to achieve, but that also must be tempered by fiscal reality and prudence. After all, "politics is the art of the possible.”

Some of the candidates’ platforms espoused programs and policies with a hefty price tag attached. As the City of St. John’s cannot run deficits, the money for programs such as sidewalk snowclearing, more extensive subsidies for low-income earners and seniors, the purchase of vacant properties for green spaces, etc., all come at a significant financial cost and that can only be funded by making cuts in other areas or finding new revenue sources such increasing the mill rate on private or corporate properties.

Given this province’s dire fiscal situation; given that many citizens have not received raises in several years; given that real incomes are dropping every year due to inflation; given that electricity rates are projected to double in the next few years; given that property taxes have risen in the city as a result of huge assessment increases, is this really the time to implement Cadillac fiscal policies when a Chevrolet would do?

Be careful what you wish for; it might just come true.

Robert Johnston
St. John’s

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