Winnipeg mayoral candidates talk taxes, financing

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Mayoral candidates on how they’ll pay for promises
Mayoral candidates on how they’ll pay for promises – Oct 24, 2022

With the civic election only two days away, Winnipeg’s mayoral candidates have been making pledges and promises all over town, but how do they intend to pay for their ideas?

Candidate Glen Murray says, if elected, he won’t raise your property taxes for at least a year.

Murray, who previously served as mayor of Winnipeg from 1998–2004, told 680 CJOB he has a plan to get additional revenue from other areas.

“When I was mayor before, our business tax rate was about 9.75 (per cent). It’s now 4.8 per cent — less than 5 per cent –so if we raise that by just one per cent, it would still be pretty close to record-low levels,” he said.

“That would bring in a significant amount of tax — about $13 millon.”

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Murray said he also intends to go to the legislature to ask for one per cent of PST to go to the city.

“If you think logically, is it easier to get billions of dollars from government, or to get what we have been successful at, which is a sustaining source of funding from getting a piece of existing tax revenue? I think that’s a more realistic plan.”

Beyond that, he said he’s open to hearing others’ input when it comes to additional revenue streams.

“I’m going to spend Oct. 27, if I’m elected, sitting down, going through the suggestions that I’ve got, looking at the suggestions of others, and realizing that you need a majority of votes on council, you’re going to have to work with council to get a consensus on the financial plans.”

Click to play video: 'Mayoral candidates on how they’ll pay for promises'
Mayoral candidates on how they’ll pay for promises

Jenny Motkaluk, who has been openly critical of Murray’s tax plan, said if she’s elected as Mayor on Wednesday, she won’t raise taxes.

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Motkaluk said she believes the city should be looking at other opportunities to generate revenue.

“My plan, my new spending is paid for by a combination of savings… and also new tax money, specifically the opportunity to develop CentrePort, which will generate $80 million a year,” she said.

Motkaluk told 680 CJOB that, if elected, she would also freeze wages at City Hall for civic employees making more than $75,000 a year.

“I’m asking Winnipeg’s highest-paid public employees to give a little bit more so that we can help those who were hurt the most.”

Another part of the candidate’s plan to generate revenue is her intention to finish Chief Peguis west for more development, which in turn she says will increase revenue and opportunities for Winnipeggers.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Jenny Motkaluk'
Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Jenny Motkaluk

Candidate Shaun Loney says he doesn’t believe in seeing through huge infrastructure projects, and would rather spend that money fixing the roads Winnipeg already has.

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“I’m excited about sitting in the mayor’s chair and reorienting government toward solving problems rather than managing them and chasing after them,” he said.

“We just have so much potential in Winnipeg… but keep doing things the way we’re doing it, and we’re going to be where we are.”

Loney told 680 CJOB believes it’s time for a fresh way of thinking at City Hall, including when it comes to our spending.

One area in particular that could see a big refresh, is the way police are funded. Loney said it’s not about the “old narratives between more cops and less cops”, but about reducing the police workload by modernizing the relationship between the police service and local non-profits.

If elected, Loney said he’ll hike property taxes by 3.7 per cent, but intends to take a hard look at spending so that money’s used more effectively.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Shaun Loney'
Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Shaun Loney

Candidate Kevin Klein says if he’s elected, Winnipeggers won’t see any big changes if he takes office, as a large-scale overhaul of the city’s finances right away just isn’t feasible.

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“As much as I don’t like the four-year budget, it is in place,” he said.

“The 2.3 per cent tax increase will remain, is it has for the last four years, but that is because I could not go into office and change a $1.5 billion budget within 90 days — it just wouldn’t be reasonable.

Klein told 680 CJOB he would implement a review of the entire budget to see where the dollars are going, and see if the city can tighten up its spending.

“We’re going to trace every dollar, and we’re going to figure out if we have a revenue problem or a spending problem — and I believe we have a spending problem.”

Klein said he would look to the city of Calgary as an example of successful savings as the result of a zero-based budget review.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Kevin Klein'
Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Kevin Klein

Candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette told 680 CJOB that he plans to generate $65 million in annual revenue by taxing downtown developers who only use their properties for parking as if they were four-storey buildings.

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“By going and trying to force them to actually develop something of value in our community, then we’re going to be able to use those revenues to actually develop and make our community a much, much better and safer and more thriving community to live in,” he said.

Ouelette said, if elected, he’ll keep the property tax increase at 2.3 per cent.

Candidate Scott Gillingham said now is the time to make key investments in Winnipeg.

Gillingham told 680 CJOB he would increase property taxes by 3.5 per cent per year, plus a one-time increase of $1.50 for next year only.

“The frontage levy revenues would go into improving our transportation system, fixing more roads, filling more potholes,” he said.

“It would go into transit as well, and closing some gaps in our cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.”

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Robert-Falcon Ouellette'
Winnipeg Mayoral Race: Robert-Falcon Ouellette

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