Steeves presents most fiscally-responsible plan for Winnipeg
City needs property-tax freezes, end to Phase 2 of BRT and rebuilding roads
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves cited today the need for property tax freezes, the end of wasteful Phase 2 Bus Rapid Transit plans and fixing broken infrastructure as key policies of his Rebuilding Winnipeg Plan.
“Throughout this mayoral race, I have been honest with Winnipeggers on the need for fiscal responsibility and realistic plans on Rebuilding Winnipeg,” Steeves said. “We need a city that can compete in a global marketplace for business. We need to improve our economy, create jobs and attract more people to live, work and play in our city.”
Steeves said his plan for Winnipeg stands in stark contrast to proposals presented by Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Brian Bowman
Wasylycia-Leis has not said how she will pay for Phase 2 of BRT, but said she will build it. She will incur $400 million in new debt for infrastructure and at least $300 million more in BRT debt. She has pledged to increase property taxes 12 percent. She supported the PST increase.
Bowman has proposed a municipal sales tax of three to four percent, which will drive business away from Winnipeg and makes the city less competitive. Bowman supported the PST increase. He is proposing a property tax increase of 10 percent. He has proposed no new money for infrastructure. He will spend $6 billion on Bus Rapid Transit but has never said how he will pay for that plan.
Steeves recapped his key election promises for voters who will be casting their ballots on Oct. 22, noting there is a clear choice in this election.
BACKGROUNDER — THE GORD STEEVES PLAN
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ECONOMY
- A property-tax freeze for the entire duration of the next four-year term
- A tourism plan to attract Grand Forks residents to shop in Winnipeg
- Ending poorly-planned Phase 2 of Bus Rapid Transit to save the city more than $225 million
- Improving permitting processes to enable development in a more efficient manner
- Creating more than $200 million for up-front infrastructure spending, with $100 million coming from divesting four city-owned golf courses, $50 million generated from selling the tower and parkade portions of the new police headquarters building, and $40 million coming from a hiring freeze and limits to purchasing goods and services
- Ongoing infrastructure support beyond that $200 million through use of tax increment financing of redeveloped golf course land and putting two percent of property taxes in all new developments into a targeted reserve fund for future infrastructure renewal
- 24/7 road construction protocols where possible, closing roads under repair and using the private sector to build or repair roads instead of the public sector
- Synchronizing traffic lights to enable better traffic flow for everyone
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- Creation of a Treasury Board to monitor all expenditures greater than $100,000
- Re-creating the Executive Policy Committee Secretariat to the City Council reporting structure
- Changes to the Community Committee decision making process, allowing decisions to be made by city committee rather than by local neighbourhoods
- A fair Photo Radar Enforcement program with safety as the primary focus, lower fines, proper speed limits on roads and improved traffic engineering and amber light cycles
- Use of unmanned aerial vehicles for police work
- Eliminating intersection panhandling
- Changing the mosquito abatement program to enable Winnipeggers to enjoy the summer months outside
- Putting 20 Cadets from the Winnipeg Police Service into the downtown core
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND DOWNTOWN
- Shifting $5 million from the BRT reserve fund to community centres
- Eliminating zoning and permit impediments to ensure the Exchange District can become a more exciting destination for tourists and residents alike.
- Ending the discussion on opening up the Portage Avenue and Main Street intersection to pedestrian traffic