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From the Z-Files

Web posted on August 23, 2001

The Z-Files
Although I have been gone from writing my article for some time, I am now back and hotter than ever. Especially since I recently heard what is happening in Cambridge I fear that it may soon start here in Guelph.

I am speaking about the increase in Property Taxes to residential home owners, while businesses get away with nothing. The mayor of Cambridge claims "we are given direction (by the Provincial Government) and we have no choice but to follow". Well, the provincial government, after downloading responsibility of social housing onto the backs of the already over worked and under funded municipal governments, has indicated that municipalities are to get their tax increases off the backs of the home owners, essentially leaving the commercial property owners alone.

In Waterloo Region, residential property taxes are increasing anywhere from the low nineties to nearly one-hundred and twenty percent. The increase all depends upon the area you live in and the amount of commercial property there is, so, the residential property owners of Cambridge, with its big-box stores, gets hit big due to the increasing amount of commercial sites being built.

Here in Guelph, we may shortly see that our property taxes are increased along the same lines as Kitchener, which has about the same amount of commercial land.

All this while, commercial property owners (or, as the left call them big business), have little or no property tax increases this year. All because Premier Harris and his cronies don't want to lose the votes (or donations) of big business.

Is it fair that you and I, who are currently fighting to make ends meet in the neo-conservative, Mike Harris, new world order, are now faced with the potential of increased taxes while some of his biggest donors get off scott free? You don't have to be a socialist like me to see that's not fair. Worse still, apartment buildings are still taxed at a higher rate than houses, and vacancy rates continue to decline, despite huge rate increases in the post-rent control era. Apartment and social housing starts have been practically non-existent since 1995. Yet the most economically disadvantaged, who don't benefit from Harris' so-called "tax cuts", are seeing their COLA rise.

That's why I, and dozens more, took part in the Guelph Action Network's kick-off to the "Defeat Harris" rally on Wednesday, August 22, behind the Matrix Centre. The premier needs to know that it's time to stop picking on the average Ontarian, it's time to stop poor bashing.

FYI, "Defeat Harris" is a province wide action against the Ontario government's draconian measures, organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). It is to fight the five year attack on the poor by Mike Harris and his minions. More information can be found at the OCAP website at http://www.tao.ca/~ocap

Respectfully submitted by William Zebedee - Community Activist

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