Letter to the Editor: In response to “In all fairness”

Marg Ciccone writes in about tax reductions for housing projects in Prince Rupert

Re: Editorial of Thursday, August 2, 2018 “In all fairness

I strongly disagree with your argument that the Municipality of Prince Rupert should grant a further tax reduction to the Indigenous Housing Society’s facility in the newly renovated Anchor Inn, particularly when the objective of this private organization is to address the housing needs of Aboriginal people specifically, rather than a broad spectrum of Prince Rupert society. If you were to engage in some real investigative reporting on the purchase and development of the 46 units in the former Anchor Inn you would probably find that, rather than a ‘go-it-alone’ initiative requiring tax concessions from municipal taxpayers, the project (purchase and renovations) was subsidized by provincial or federal (or both) government agencies and that daily operations and maintenance continue to be, at this point in time, subsidized by some form of government funding.

READ MORE: In Our Opinion: In all fairness

In spite of the arbitrary and custodial manner government departments and agencies selectively bequeath funds in the form of grants and subsidies to politically appropriate recipients, the real source of these subsidies is Canadian’s tax payer’s dollars. In my opinion, it is not reasonable to expect municipal taxpayers to add a third level of government subsidization to an already heavily subsidized housing initiative. As to your questionable advice to the folks at Anchor Inn to affiliate with a religious organization in order to qualify for further tax concessions — well, perhaps no comment is sufficient comment!

The Friendship House Pioneer Inn, operating as a facility for travellers, in other words, a commercial venture, is being somewhat ingenuous to expect a tax break from the municipal taxpayers of Prince Rupert. Granted, it must come as something of a shock to associations like Friendship House, which are subsidized by the deep pockets of big government agencies, to find when they enter the real world of commerce, they are expected to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else.

The decision by Mayor Lee Brain and council to reject both these applications for special tax concessions was fiscally appropriate and fair to the municipal taxpayers of Prince Rupert.

Marg Ciccone

Prince Rupert, B.C.

READ MORE: Former Anchor Inn to be home to 46 low-income units


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