I'm not a fan of any of the candidates for the NDP or Social Credit but Christy Clark has put forth an interesting proposal :
January 18, 2011
VANCOUVER - In recognition there is only one taxpayer in British Columbia, BC Liberal leadership candidate Christy Clark told the BC Chamber of Commerce today she is proposing an Office of the Municipal Auditor General.
"Municipal governments play a vital role in creating a sense of community and ensuring families have the services and amenities they need to flourish," says Clark. "Over the last several years, as the economy has shifted, municipalities have struggled to determine how to fund services and deal with the shifting of responsibilities from senior levels of governments. This new office would look at the competition between commercial, industrial and residential taxation, the role local government is playing and find ways to make sure the taxpayer is being well-served."
Under Clark's proposal, the office would be funded by the provincial government and work as part of the Auditor General's office. The office would provide advice on financial decisions, provide a measure of accountability and review the municipal taxation formula.
"As the auditor general does now, this new office would be able to select its own areas for review, react to requests from municipalities and look at suggestions from the public," says Clark. "Small towns, in particular, have an issue of capacity and this office would help meet those needs. A municipal tax review will examine whether the system is fair and that no one group is carrying an unfair burden, allowing for a public dialogue involving property taxpayers across British Columbia."
Following the municipal taxation and responsibility review, Clark would work with the Union of BC Municipalities to ensure the system is properly funded and communities can provide the services British Columbians want from local government.
"There are many instances of how municipal government is working across the province," says Clark. "The Municipal Finance Authority is a prime example of how the system can work. I would ask this new office, along with UBCM, to share best practices and help ensure all taxpayers are getting the best possible service."
Clark says, if elected premier, she will consult with local governments and ratepayer groups to establish the terms of reference for the review.