Beware of ‘saving’ money we don’t got

Beware of 'saving' money we don't got The CBC program The Consumer used to begin with Stompin' Tom Connors belting out his song of the same name, one line of which went, "We'll save a lot of money spending money we don't got." Stompin' Tom's song referr

The CBC program The Consumer used to begin with Stompin’ Tom Connors belting out his song of the same name, one line of which went, “We’ll save a lot of money spending money we don’t got.”

Stompin’ Tom’s song referred to our tendency, whenever we see a 20 per cent off sign, to spend money we don’t got to save money on things we don’t need just because it will be regular price next week. Some saving! Talk about sales psychology!

Now imagine our three levels of government in the role of the consumer spending money that we, the taxpayers, don’t got on things we either don’t need at all or exceed what is needed.

Whitehorse city council is raising our taxes again, only a little bit, but by the stealth of a “little bit at a time,” a lot! However, this year’s increment is less than staff suggested so they “saved” us money, eh. But do we need everything the City is spending our money on? Unlikely.

The Yukon government’s new Whistle Bend long-term care facility cost estimate is $147 million for 150 beds/units. That’s about $1 million a piece. Sure, we need it, but a four-bedroom house costs about half of that, so a million dollars per unit seems a bit steep, unless, of course, they come with high-end appliances. But, the original estimate was $158 million, so we “saved” $11 million dollars.

Whatever. I anticipate a long waiting list for those million-dollar units.

When it came to replacing F.H. Collins school our territorial government balked at spending $56 million, wrote off the money already spent, then built a more modest design that still met what we were told was a real need for a final cost of $34 million, so we “saved” $22 million dollars.

City council wants a new city hall and general administration/facilities building estimated to cost $50 million. Seems pricey if we got a new school for $34 million. Are new facilities really needed? Is there a compelling reason to go for gold or would something more modest suffice? But hey, as I recall, part of the reason for the new digs is to save on the cost of heat, maintenance and other operating costs, so I suppose we taxpayers could be thankful that the City is “saving” us money while increasing our taxes to pay for it.

Federally, oddly enough, under the Conservatives the government’s take actually decreased by about $1,000 per person for a real saving of about $4,000 for a family of four, not counting their child benefit program. But “savings” should return to “normal” under our new Liberal administration, as it already seems they are unable to resist the lure of spending money we don’t got on stuff we don’t need.

I like more and better facilities and services as much as anyone, but the never-ending propensity of our various levels of government to mismanage our money, spend beyond what we need, borrow us into an ever-deepening financial hole, and levy more taxes and fees to pay for it bites.

Rick Tone

Whitehorse

Just Posted

WCC did not have authority to create secure living unit, judge finds

Justice Ron Veale’s decision on petition from former WCC inmate Darryl Sheepway was released Sept. 19

Bagnell concedes Trudeau’s past decisions to wear brown and blackface were racist

‘When we do things, we might not think at first blush that it’s going to offend someone’

UPDATED: B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in 2017 Ibex Valley homicide

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Updated: The Ibex Valley murder trial: what the jury didn’t hear

Some legal arguments were made without the jury present. Those details couldn’t be published until now

Commentary: How Yukon’s federal election candidates would tackle the opioid crisis

Esther Armstrong The overdose crisis continues to have a devastating impact on… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Election 2019: Almost as fun as a hockey pool

The federal election has officially kicked off, and just in time. The… Continue reading

Yukon skateboarders compete at Skate Comp 2019

The event featured nearly two dozen skaters from across the territory and beyond

VeloNorth hosts annual YXY Cross cyclocross race

The race included 92 riders — nearly triple last year’s turnout

Court news, briefly

Some recent news coming out of Yukon courts

City council news, briefly

Some of the decisions made by Whitehorse city council Sept. 9

Runners test their mettle at 37th annual Klondike Road Relay

This year’s relay included 197 teams and 1,877 runners

Yukonomist: How the Yukon saved the economy

During the Klondike gold rush, the prospect of free gold drew more… Continue reading

Most Read