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Jordan Bateman

British Columbia Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Jordan Bateman is the British Columbia Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, after working as a journalist, small business owner, and Township of Langley councillor. Having ghostwritten and edited more than 125 books for other people, he is now working on his own.
Alamy

Government Purchases: Someone Needs To Look At How Sausage Is Made

When it comes to a lot of government activity, taxpayers often want to ignore how the sausage is made: Just take as little of our money as possible, spend it wisely, and make sure the services we depend on are there when we need them. Bureaucracies love that apathy -- it allows them to escape scrutiny of their actions and policies.
01/27/2014 02:43 EST
shutterstock

Municipal Candidates Should Steal Better Ideas This Fall

Taxpayers deserve more than the same-old, same-old from potential mayors and councillors. We want details and real ideas. And, in a world where "there is nothing new under the sun," one hopes that a few ideas that have popped up in cities across B.C. might take root everywhere.
01/21/2014 02:22 EST
Alamy

TransLink Border Tax Should Be Deported

In a year where TransLink apologists seemed to throw every possible tax grab -- sales tax hikes, vehicle levies, road pricing, carbon tax -- at the wall to see if anything would stick, one idea stood above the rest for its sheer ludicrousness. The envelope please..
12/26/2013 06:33 EST
CP File

Could a B.C. Government Worker Actually Grow the Economy?

It's an all-too-regular occurrence in this province. Government employees, whipped up by their union leaders, marching against whatever economic development opportunity is being proposed. Pipelines to the coast? Opposed. Gas exploration? Opposed. Companies creating investment revenue for pensions? Opposed. New mine? Opposed. Coal exports? Opposed. But what if government employees had a direct financial stake in the economy doing better than expected? Would they be more willing to consider ways to grow the economy? It's an interesting premise, and one the B.C. government will test in the next round of collective bargaining.
12/02/2013 03:32 EST
Getty

Good Corporate Citizens Don't Take Cash From Taxpayers

Can a company truly be considered a good corporate citizen while taking money from taxpayers through corporate welfare? Corporate welfare happens when a government makes a political decision to use tax dollars to favour one company over another. While all of us understand we need to pay taxes to fund societal benefits like hospitals, schools and infrastructure, most feel government should not use our money to pick winners and losers in business by handing out grants to specific companies.
11/25/2013 03:54 EST
Getty

Going off-road is getting expensive in B.C.

"There is no such thing as free regulation," John Hutton once said, and the British author was right. Every rule set out by government comes with a price -- both to individual freedom and to taxpayers' wallets. Sometimes, the regulation is worth the loss of freedom or the cost. Few begrudge spending tax dollars or the loss of freedom to have the Auditor General review the province's books. But when government attempts to solve a problem that appears to be overblown, regulation becomes expensive and unnecessary.
11/12/2013 02:21 EST
Getty

B.C.'s Carbon Tax is no West Coast Panacea

The carbon tax lobby was practically giddy this month, as newspaper headlines touting a B.C. climate change agreement with three U.S. states blared, "Washington and Oregon follow B.C.'s lead on carbon tax system," and "Washington, Oregon plan to emulate B.C.'s carbon tax." Fortunately for American taxpayers, the headlines just aren't true.
10/31/2013 11:35 EDT
TransLink

How Much Does TransLink's CEO Make?

If TransLink is as broke as it claims to be, why are taxpayers so grossly overpaying its chief executive officer? Ian Jarvis received $394,730 in salary, incentives and taxable benefits in 2012, plus another $32,552 in taxpayer-funded petition contributions. On top of that, Jarvis took $11,418 in "other" benefits, including a "Wellness Allowance" that apparently only the CEO is eligible for. That's a total compensation package of $438,700. Jarvis made $140,000 more last year than the province's deputy transportation minister, Grant Main. He made $200,000 more than Premier Christy Clark. Clark wasn't alone; Jarvis out earned Prime Minister Stephen Harper by nearly $75,000.
10/17/2013 03:48 EDT
Handout

The Cliché That's Costing B.C. Big Time

Whether BC Liberal or NDP, governments have grown reliant on the cash flowing from ICBC and BC Hydro ratepayers. Any suggestion of reduction is met with ministerial shrugs and the talking point: "How would we fund health and other services without that money? Should we raise taxes?" Yet, the ignored solution can be found in another cliché: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
10/09/2013 07:17 EDT
Alamy/TransLink

TransLink: A Rat's Nest Of Redundancy

Giving TransLink more tax dollars is like giving a pyromaniac a fresh box of matches. Both will eventually run out and keep coming back for more -- unless they change their ways. TransLink's executive vice-president Bob Paddon, he of the $307,857 annual pay, claims his operation is an "efficient and well-run organization." The facts prove otherwise. TransLink is a rat's nest of redundancy and waste.
09/23/2013 02:21 EDT
Facebook

There's Nothing Impoverished About B.C. Cities' Budgets

Don't hold your breath hoping mayors and councillors will come home from this month's Union of B.C. Municipalities conference with a stack of cost-saving ideas and strategies. In 2011, cities in B.C. combined to bring in $7.87 billion in revenue. Regional districts added another $1.6 billion. Throw in TransLink and its $1.3 billion and you have a combined annual budget of $10.77 billion to run everything from Abbotsford to Zeballos. To put that into perspective, if local government were a provincial government ministry, it would be bigger than anything except health, and more than double the size of education.
09/15/2013 09:04 EDT
Alamy

Sick Day Abuse Makes Taxpayers Nauseous

When was the last time you called in sick? Was it just a case of the sniffles? Were you flat on your back? Or did you go golfing and not want to use a vacation day? Did you feel guilty about leaving your co-workers to cover for you? Did you take as few days as possible, knowing someone else had to pick up the slack in your absence? Chances are if you work in the private sector, your answers are very different from those of some government employees.
09/05/2013 07:15 EDT
WikiMedia

Who's Running TransLink Anyway?

At TransLink, the inmates are now running the asylum. With such little support from taxpayers, riders, mayors, the minister and the board chair, TransLink's push for a $23 billion tax-and-spend binge is coming from its senior executive team. They are making media appearances and desperately trying to push for higher taxes. It will be up to the taxpayers to take the keys away from the transportation authority's senior executives
08/15/2013 09:21 EDT
Getty

City Hall Pay Is Out Of Control

Taxpayers and watchdogs often focus their attention on the top of the government salary spectrum. Government executives are increasingly overpaid, especially at the municipal and regional district level. But it's not just the top end that is out of control. Taxpayers are overpaying for labour throughout the system.
08/05/2013 04:11 EDT
CP

Enough With the Reviews: B.C. Needs a Complete Reset

B.C. has seen umpteen reviews of various government agencies and files. BC Hydro, ICBC, BC Ferries and TransLink have all been reviewed within the past two years. Reviews have been promised for the B.C. Lottery Corporation, B.C. Housing, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, B.C. Transit, and the Liquor Distribution Board. Pre-election, the NDP generated a list of 35 reviews had been promised by the government. One hesitates to remind government of these promised reviews, lest a review into the missing reviews also be promised.
07/22/2013 01:15 EDT
Shutterstock

Tax Credits are a Bad Business

It's bad enough that many municipalities are hiking property taxes this year, but the provincial government's decision to kill a light industry tax credit is piling on B.C.'s job creators -- and highlighting why such tax credits are bad policy in the first place.
06/25/2013 11:34 EDT
CP

B.C.'s Big Byelection Bill Makes No Sense

Think of it as an electoral echo. While many British Columbians are just getting over the election hangover from May's blockbuster BC Liberal comeback win, 13 municipalities are about to head into by-election mode. Four mayors and 10 councillors from 13 different communities were elected May 14th. A dozen BC Liberals, two New Democrats: all will need to be replaced in the coming weeks, triggering a series of expensive by-elections.
06/19/2013 01:13 EDT
AFP/Getty Images

How B.C. Pays So Quebec Can Play

in Canada's Equalization program, "have" provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan send billions of dollars to Ottawa that are in turn handed to chronic overspending "have-nots" like Quebec. It creates a system where the reward for prudent fiscal management is bailing out those who couldn't care less. In other words, we in B.C. pay so they can play.
06/06/2013 01:44 EDT
CP

Adrian Dix: The Unpredictable Premier?

Voters want to know where their potential leaders stand before they have to walk into a polling station and put a tick next to a party's name. While it's impossible for anyone to fully anticipate and articulate every possible challenge and scenario ahead of a four-year term in office, taxpayers want a predictable pattern set out. Political leaders should be able to change their mind as circumstances change, but nothing had changed about asset sales or Kinder Morgan.
04/30/2013 02:34 EDT
Alamy

Bloated UVic Payroll Needs The Axe

Five years ago, UVic paid out $212.4 million in salaries to its employees. Last year, that had jumped to $253 million - a 19 per cent increase. During that same span, UVic staff benefit costs grew by a third, from $33.7 million in 2007/08 to $44.6 million in 2011/12. In fact, last year, benefit costs grew almost the same amount as the university's shortfall - $4.4 million. One need only look at the top of the university's pay scale to see four clear examples of exorbitant wage growth over the past five years.
04/18/2013 12:23 EDT