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Rapid rise in municipal spending is costing you money

How many times have you been shocked when you received your property tax bill for the year? Your pulse quickens, your palms sweat, and you wonder how it is possible your taxes have increased by this much.

One reason is that your local government just can’t stop spending.

CFIB's New Report

CFIB has released the eleventh edition of its annual municipal spending report and the results continue to show that increases in municipal spending are far beyond the sustainable rate of inflation plus population growth. In fact, across all B.C. municipalities between 2006 and 2016 inflation adjusted spending increased by 43 per cent while population growth was just 12 per cent – almost four times faster!

That is not the only concerning result that we found. Over that same ten year period, almost no municipalities in B.C. kept their operational spending at or below levels of inflation plus population growth, and no major municipal governments with more than 25,000 residents made the list.

No wonder affordability in BC is currently such a heated topic.

So what are municipalities doing about it?

In the face of rising costs, municipalities have a responsibility to become more efficient and decrease costs. If municipalities make a concerted effort to save, they will find that they can eradicate unnecessary costs without a reduction in services.

We approached the Chief Administrative Officers of 30 municipalities throughout B.C. to find out how they save money and raise revenues. We’re sharing those ideas with all municipalities.

One thing is clear: municipalities have many opportunities to increase efficiency and save you money.

This is something that CFIB will continue to advance with municipal governments and candidates for mayor and council in the October 20th municipal elections. This is why we’re renewing our calls for municipal candidates to adopt our municipal platform, which identifies municipal spending practices as a key issue.

To see your municipalities rank, or other new finding related to municipal operating spending, you can read our full report.

B.C. Twenty Largest Municipalities’ Operating Expenditures  -  by Rank

Green = best; Red = worst. 20 = worst rank.

Source: CFIB Analysis of B.C. Gov data published municipal spending, inflation and population data 2006-2016 The “overall rank” assigned to each municipality is an equally-weighted combination of two indicators: (1) 2006 - 2016 real operating spending per capita growth, or percentage growth in operating spending over the past 10 years, adjusted for inflation and population growth; and (2) 2016 operating spending per capita

* Last year’s ranking is not directly comparable to the rank in this year’s report owing to a different base year being used. See Appendix 1 for details.

September 11, 2018

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Topics in this Article: Government Spending

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