School trustees and superintendents may bristle at the suggestion that top education staffers don't deserve pay increases. But how can they defend that position when they fail to evaluate their top employees every year?
Why shouldn't taxpayers know what the B.C. Lions or Vancouver Whitecaps pay to play in our $563 million stadium? Why shouldn't we be aware of the legal issues surrounding the stadium's roof? Or why the Telus naming deal died?
When Christy Clark took over as premier of British Columbia two years ago, she had a window of opportunity to change taxpayers' perceptions of her government. To improve her chances in the 2013 election, Clark needed to throw out unpopular and unworkable ideas brought in by her predecessor Gordon Campbell. In a symbolic way, she needed to string a huge banner over the B.C. Legislature that said, "Under New Management."
While TransLink's habitual tax increases, never-ending budget deficits and lack of direct accountability have been well documented over the past several years, Metro Vancouver has slid somewhat under the radar. This lack of accountability to taxpayers has been a problem at Metro Vancouver for a long time, fostered by staffers playing political games and local politicians distracted by their elected duties at their various city halls.
B.C. taxpayers should be grateful to John Doyle for his persistent, hard-nosed work over the past six years. And perhaps six years is too short of a term, but renewal should not be an option. Now it's time for another watchdog to come in and give issues fresh eyes and a fresh voice, just as Doyle built on the work of previous auditors general.
Once the champagne is drunk, the noisemakers go silent, the balloons pop and the New Year's kisses end, 2013 will bring one nasty hangover for cash-strapped B.C. taxpayers. Taxes, fees and levies from all levels of government are set to go up, leaving even less of your hard-earned money in your pocket.
When British Columbians rejected the HST in the 2011 referendum, they were promised things would go back to the PST normal. But an independent panel has recommended adding taxes to things that virtually every B.C. family buys -- a plan that will increase our already sky-high cost of living.
Vancouver's Bixi public bike-share program may sound like good public policy but in the end, it will be taxpayers who will get taken for a ride. Why are they paying for bikes when the car shares have proven transportation co-ops and businesses can be sustained without taxpayer dollars?
Once upon a time, a popular opposition firebrand named Christy Clark stood up in the B.C. Legislature to rip the NDP government for spending tax dollars on shameless, self-promoting advertising. Fast forward 13 years and there was Clark, now B.C. Liberal premier, last week holding court for 90 seconds of taxpayer-funded TV ad time to laud her B.C. Jobs Plan -- even promising that four more weekly installments are on the way.
Last week, the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, chaired by Barisoff and made up of both Liberal and NDP MLAs, agreed to post quarterly expense reports online -- but continue to withhold actual receipts, ensuring the public is kept in the dark on where public money is actually going. For two parties who are at each other's throats on nearly every issue facing this province, it is astounding that the Liberals and NDP continue to walk in lockstep when it comes to hiding these receipts.