Maple Ridge council: (from left) Craig Speirs, Gordy Robson, Kiersten Duncan, Nicole Read, Corisa Bell, Tyler Shymkiw and Bob Masse. (Contributed)

News Views: Whole now

Maple Ridge council’s salaries “increase” more than 20% in response to changes in federal tax laws.

Maple Ridge council voted unanimously Tuesday to increase the salaries for mayor and council by more than 20 per cent, to off-set a “reduction” in their after-tax income.

The decision was in response to changes in federal tax laws, and members of council made sure to point a finger in that direction before voting on the change, which will affect the incoming council.

As part of the 2017 federal budget, Ottawa decided to peel back a tax break for certain politicians.

A change in the Income Tax Act comes into effect on Jan. 1, eliminating a provision that allowed elected officials to have one-third of their income tax exempt.

Specific employment expenses, filed with receipts, will remain non-taxable.

The measure affects elected members of provincial and territorial legislatures, as well as municipalities, including school boards, although some city governments in Canada, Calgary being one, got rid of such exemptions a decade ago.

Maple Ridge council’s audit and finance committee recommended that the mayor’s salary “increase” by 24 per cent to $114,250, and councillors by 23 per cent to $45,700, effective Jan. 1, 2019, to “mitigate the impact of the reduction.”

The base salary for a councillor will be set at 40 per cent of that for mayor.

Effective June 1, 2017 the mayor’s salary was $92,310, and councillors $37,285.

The cost to the city will be a budget adjustment of $55,000 in 2019.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is happy the tax exemption was removed, as it was a disservice in explaining how much money politicians actually make.

The hidden allowance, it has said, boosted some incomes by up to $30,000 a year.

A nice perk to cover the expenses of public service.

But, as noted by Maple Ridge council, sometimes politicians have to drive to meetings.

Now that it has agreed to the pay increase, voters have the transparency they deserve.

And for that you can thank the federal government.

It’s a clearer way to show what a council member makes, with benefits, and the amount is fully taxable.

The municipal election is in October.

Run. Or don’t.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

Just Posted

Tantalus gets licence to sell medical marijuana

Grown at Sunlab facility in Whonnock

Bees and Blueberries festival in Pitt Meadows

Entertainment all day on Saturday and Sunday

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Burrards lose first game of WLA championship series

Shamrocks take opener 9-4 in Victoria, series in Maple Ridge Sunday

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Most Read