Kudos to our mayor and council for holding the line on taxes, and bringing a business perspective to running city hall. As southern Europe falls apart, Mexico suffers from drug violence, and America shows its inability to deal with a trillion dollar deficit, we should be so thankful that we now have a sound government in our community that respects the limits of the taxpayers.
As a recent visitor to Spain and Portugal, I could sense a potential catastrophe in their vacation housing market. Properties financed in euros will potentially soon be receiving rental income and their ultimate selling price in Pesetas or Escudos. Owners must be waiting in fear of the next shoe to drop.
Even in the world's richest country, the United States, the situation is hardly any better. As a Canadian owning property there you run the risk of getting caught by their inheritance tax should your estate exceed $1.4 million, given that Congress cannot agree on a tax package with the administration. In America, the majority of local governments are essentially broke, saddled with huge pension liabilities and rising prison costs. I would expect U.S. property taxes to double over the next five to seven years.
What does this have to do with Whistler? Should we demonstrate our ability to hold the line on taxes, and because we offer a safe environment, we will be amongst only a few vacation "hot-spots" that has such desirable qualities. As a consequence, our property values will increase, new construction and upgrading of properties will occur and employment will turn for the better. Individuals and new businesses will decide to locate here and the papered-up retail sites will be an issue of the past.
I foresee a time in the near future when vacation property prices and a community's prospects will depend first on the fiscal discipline of the governments whose jurisdictions they are beholden to. Wonderful weather and pristine beaches will take a back seat to fiscal prudence. In such a future I expect Whistler will do amazingly well, both because our finances and fiscal management look good and unfortunately other regions look quite depressing.
I'd like to take the opportunity to address some misinformation that has been circulating about Bill C-38, the Budget Implementation Act.
Bill C-38 will provide clear advantages for the Canadian economy. By streamlining regulatory reviews for major projects, we can, and will, maintain the same rigorous environmental protection that Canadians rightly expect. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stated: "When it comes to evaluating development plans, one should not confuse the length of the process with the rigour of the science." In other words, more assessments do not equate to better assessments.