Opinion » Maxed Out

No increases in propertytaxes... well, sort of



Grey is the new black. Gay is the new straight. 50 is the new 40. Biking is the new running. Big is the new little. Losing is the new winning.

And, apparently, 2.8344 is the new 2.6913.

Say what?

I defer to no greater source on the subject than Barbie when I quote, "Math is hard."

Math has always been hard except for those few misfits who seemed to be wired for numbers. Oh, it all seemed so innocent in the beginning. It started out so easily, so, well, logically. 1+1=2. 2+2=4. Yes, we all saw the patterns and we all understood... at least until we ran out of fingers. Sure, subtraction took a little getting used to and it raised uncomfortable philosophical questions about the nature of loss, especially after our total psychic immersion in the ever-expanding world of addition.

But then we seemed to lose some in the class when we tackled multiplication. Everything seemed to pile up so quickly. And no sooner than most of us began to get comfortable with the exponential nature of multiplication, wham, we were hit with division. Even that wasn't so bad as long as we could express the result in whole numbers and remainders. But noooooo... they had to lay decimals on us. And fractions. And from there it spiraled out of control: exponents, square roots, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, imaginary numbers. Many a child was left behind.

And even though we tried to salve our battered egos with the notion that we'd never use most of what we were being forced to learn in real life, math left many diminished, choking on their first real taste of defeat.

Quite a few people never recovered. They walk among us, mathophobes living in constant fear of numbers, never balancing their chequebooks, never questioning arguments fortified by numbers. Never actually looking at their property tax notices.

Funny thing about this year's RMOW property tax notice. There seems to be an arithmetic mistake. Or perhaps a mistaken belief that five per cent really is the new zero per cent.

In the accompanying "Tax Talk 2013" flyer, mayor Nancy says, "For the second year in a row... without increasing property taxes or utility fees." The whole sentence is rather long but it is important. How do I know this. Because it's the subject of the callout and anything in a callout is important. If you don't believe me, just read the callout on this page. Whatever it says, that's important. It's a rule.

I felt my chest swell with pride when I read that callout. Nancy's, not the one on this page. "They said it couldn't be done," I thought to myself. No increase in property taxes and here we are, second year in a row with... hey, wait a minute, how come my property tax bill is bigger this year?