Comment 120616

By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted January 25, 2017 at 19:36:31

"If it were not for the library and other government "hand-up" services, I would be trapped in the social assistance system, in jail, or in a minimum wage job where the government would have to subsidize my employer by funding access to discounted bus passes, subsidized housing, food banks, and all the other things the working poor need to survive. (I've never heard Skelly speak out at Council about this corporate welfare.)"

"Skelly claims she wants to save taxpayers money - and I support her! Start by cutting the 33 percent increase Council gave themselves to their pensions this term."

These are both important points. Subsidized housing and transit are all ultimately distortions to the labour market that allow employers to reduce wages at cost to the public. That's not at all true of resources to help people access education and skills development to better their situation- we should be supporting these things.

And: The increase to the library budget is more-or-less inflationary, and a third of the rate of increase which will be given to police services (which is considered "less than expected" and rarely given any scrutiny).

In dollar terms, the increase to the library budget is about the added cost associated with councillors' compensation a couple of years ago. It's not the place to focus attention. To the extent that Hamilton has fiscal challenges either now or on the horizon, it is police and fire and unfunded maintenance liabilities on overbuilt infrastructure, and not the library budget, that is causing them.

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