WRAFT - Latest News December 2006
TO WRAFT MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS
We Need Your Help Now
We have reached a critical period in our efforts to achieve meaningful property tax reform. Coming up just ten short months from now is a provincial election.
The three main political parties are demonstrating in different ways their interest in the reform of the Ontario property tax regime. The PC’s have a private members bill through second reading, probably going no further, and calling for a cap on annual assessment increases. The NDP have issued a report recommending a permanent freeze on assessments with revaluation of properties only when sold. The Liberals, the only party which can actually do something prior to the election, have introduced a two-year freeze in assessments, thereby saving us all some money while doing nothing but burying the issue until after the election.
We all remember the other major breakthrough by the Liberals, when Premier McGuinty announced back in April that both he and the Finance Minister were “seized with the issue” of property tax reform. That was seven months ago and the seizure has led to inaction at best and perhaps even the belief that with the moratorium in place and with MPAC tidying up its processes, the whole challenge of reform can be shelved till after the election.
What Can You Do?
It’s our job and your job to make sure the Liberals are reminded they have not solved a thing and that action must be taken now, preferably before the spring budget but for sure before the election. With your support, we have to demonstrate that the political risk in doing nothing is greater than the risk of introducing real reform. It’s as simple as that. We have the attention of the decision makers at Queens Park. We tell them we represent one million voters across Ontario but now they have to hear from you. There are basically two ways you can do that. You can write a letter or email to your MPP and send a copy to email@example.com of any email you send an MPP. For instructions on emailing go to www.wraft.com and look under Email Your MPP. For addresses if you’re writing a letter go to www.gov.on.ca and look under MPPs-address and contact info. If you’ve done so already, please take the time to do it again. Even better, as suggested by a Cabinet Minister who attended our recent Annual Meeting, you can go to your constituency office on any Friday and make your appeal directly to your MPP. Please let us know by email if you’ve visited your MPP so that we can keep track of who has been contacted in person. January is a critical month for emails, letters and visits.
What do you say?
Whether in writing or in person, tell them to get on with the job! If your member is a Liberal, tell him or her to introduce legislation in this spring budget to cap annual assessment increases at 5%. And while you’re at it, tell them to provide enhanced relief for low-income Ontarians and seniors already being forced from their homes. Ontario has the highest property taxes in the western world and things have gotten significantly worse under the Liberals., Tell them what the current volatile property tax regime has done to your taxes. If your member is a PC or an NDP, tell them to take their proposals and make them part of their election platform.
In other words tell them if they want your vote and your support, they must take a stand on property tax reform.
The next few months are critical.
Your executive is doing its bit to keep the issues in front of Queens
Park. But they have to hear from individual taxpayers or
they’ll think things have gone quiet; that the moratorium has
done its’ job and they can forget about it.
We are writing this letter to our primary contacts at our member associations. Please distribute it to your membership the best and quickest way you can. Your MPP needs to hear from you in January. To remind you of the critical importance of this lobbying effort, our Directors will be dividing up our membership list with the intention of personally reaching as many of you as possible to discuss joint action.
Association executives change frequently. If we have sent this letter to the wrong person, please forward it to the new person responsible and advise us so we can update our records.
Thanks in advance for your help.