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Council Rates

Council Rates

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Published by Steve Baron
Let's face it, getting your Council rates bill in the post isn't as exciting as seeing one of the
many attractive Cambridge woman walking down the main street, but it certainly does
make your heart jump! US President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Taxes, are the dues
that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.”
Let's face it, getting your Council rates bill in the post isn't as exciting as seeing one of the
many attractive Cambridge woman walking down the main street, but it certainly does
make your heart jump! US President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Taxes, are the dues
that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.”

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Published by: Steve Baron on Dec 31, 2009
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01/22/2010

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Steve BaronCambridge's Eye on Democracy Council Rates(494 words)
Let's face it, getting your Council rates bill in the post isn't as exciting as seeing one of themany attractive Cambridge woman walking down the main street, but it certainly doesmake your heart jump! US President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Taxes, are the duesthat we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.” Cambridge ratescertainly aren't cheap, the average ratepayer pays around fifty dollars a week as their contribution to the $32 million the Waipa District Council collects. Basing a tax on thegestimated value of a property is iniquitous. For example, Granny may have owned her home for a very long time so its not her fault the value has increased exponentially, butshe still has to pay rates based on the value of the property. Neither does it seem fair thata household of five who use far more services than a single dweller, can end up payingless. There are other options that could be considered. Poll taxes (tax per head) or Community Tax as it was known in the UK under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher areone option. However, they were very unpopular and inefficient to collect. A Service Tax, or a local income tax that operates separately from the national tax system has often beensuggested, although this would create significant costs to collect. Perhaps a moreequitable and simpler way to fund Council services would be through central governmenttaxation which already funds a large amount of Council spending. This would simply meanraising national tax levels slightly, and spreading the load throughout society. If Councilservices were to become funded in this way, a specific formula would need to be designedto ensure Council funding did not become a deep black hole money is thrown at.Regardless of how Councils are funded, another important consideration is howCouncils allocate budgets. One option becoming ever more popular throughout the world,and promoted locally in New Zealand by the Wanganui City Council, are referendums. This

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