Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker said municipal politicians are losing a significant tax break. (News files)

Pitt mayor to pitch council pay hike to cover higher taxes

Ottawa to eliminate tax break for local politicians

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker said the federal government is unfairly targetting municipal politicians to pay more income tax.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MP Dan Ruimy had sympathetic comments, despite Becker’s criticism of the Liberal government.

Municipal politicians have been able to claim one-third of their salary as tax exempt, but that will come to an end with the government’s tax reforms.

Becker told his council colleagues the issue has been “kicked around” by Metro’s mayors.

“The federal Liberal government, as part of its desire for revenue, has among other things, decided to terminate the one-third tax exempt portion of local government salaries,” he said, calling it “cynical and disappointing.”

Becker said the rationale for the tax break is council members incur costs attending fundraisers, travelling, buying raffle tickets and providing sponsorships. It has been tax policy since 1947.

“It’s going to be low-hanging fruit – to pick on local government politicians, because nobody likes politicians.”

Becker said he awaits a staff report, and hopes to bring forward a motion to increase council compensation to cover the new taxes.

“This is just a tax grab,” agreed Coun. Janis Elkerton, saying the amounts involved are “peanuts.”

Pitt Meadows politicians make among the lowest salaries in Metro, with the mayor getting $71,000 and councillors $27,000 per year.

“This is ridiculous, especially for small municipalities,” said Elkerton.

Coun. David Murray said he knows of about eight other councils already looking at this issue. Edmonton city council recently increased salaries to cover the loss of the tax break.

Ruimy said he has already had conversations with Becker, and brought his concerns to the attention of the finance minister.

“I’m empathetic – I know how hard councillors work,” said Ruimy.

But Ruimy said the public expects a lot of their local councillors, who host town hall meetings and regularly engage the public. He said he attended Becker’s safety and security web events, hosted on Saturdays.

“They were extremely well done, and he put heart and soul into those things,” said Ruimy. “And that’s what the public wants them [politicians] to do.”

He said of councils in smaller cities, where earnings are lower, the tax breaks will be more important to council members.

The federal government plans for its tax changes to take effect no later than Jan. 1, 2019.

Just Posted

Man arrested in Maple Ridge in connection with Victoria-area murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

Maple Ridge golfer scores an eagle on the first day of competition at the B.C. Games

John Kahlert scored the eagle on the 9th hole at the Cowichan Golf and Country Club in Duncan.

At-risk and vulnerable children attend camp thanks to the Ridge Meadows Salvation Army

For some of the campers, it is their first trip outside of Maple Ridge

Pets: Cat’s purr does a body good

‘As relaxing as a good book.’

Being Young: What happened America?

‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’

All-Indigenous teams break new ground, making BC Games history

This is the first time there have been dedicated Indigenous teams at the BC Summer Games

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Ping-pong balls of fire dropped to merge two B.C. wildfires

The merger is considered successful by BC Wildfire Services

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Trio overcomes adversity at the BC Games

Zone 4 girl’s 3x3 basketball team fought through injuries and conflicting schedules

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Most Read