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

#MRvotes2018: Morden elected mayor in Maple Ridge

At least three newcomers to council.

#PMvotes2018: Dingwall elected mayor in Pitt Meadows as turnout up 10 per cent

His team of supporters also elected as incumbents Becker and Elkerton voted out.

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Who won and who didn’t in the Lower Mainland votes

A look at the region’s mayoral races, starting with Doug McCallum coming back to win in Surrey

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

Harry and Meghan travel in different style on Australia tour

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day seven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

The online auction features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, with the sale scheduled for 31 October and 8 November.

In Khashoggi case: Saudi calls, ‘body double’ after killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the son of Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom announced early Monday, to express condolences for the death of the journalist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials that allegedly included a member of the royal’s entourage.

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur waives right to preliminary hearing

Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been ordered to stand trial on eight counts of first-degree murder.

N.B. village faces backlash after council raises ‘straight flag’

Chipman Mayor Carson Atkinson says the flag met the village council’s criteria because it “recognizes, accepts and respects the rights of individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

5 to start your day

Surrey’s new mayor has big promises to keep, a crash claims a life of Fraser Valley man

B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Juanita Crook, a Kelowna oncologist, has seen 100 per cent success using brachytherapy to treat breast cancer in some patients.

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Most Read