Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A GRIM SCENARIO – John Glynn-Morris, Norm McIntyre (chair) and Ron Kneebone (leftright), of the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel, discuss the state of the territory’s finances at this morning’s news conference. The territorial government has been spending too much money over the last decade, the panel has confirmed.

Yukon has been spending beyond its means

Implementing a sales tax and reducing government spending are options available to return the Yukon to a sustainable financial future

By Chuck Tobin on September 12, 2017

Implementing a sales tax and reducing government spending are options available to return the Yukon to a sustainable financial future, says the Financial Advisory Panel.

This morning, the panel released its draft report and recommendations on how to address the negative position the Yukon government has put itself in over the last 10 years.

Economics professor Ron Kneebone of the University of Calgary explained at a briefing this morning that over the last decade, government spending has been growing a little more than revenue taken in.

“We applaud the government for starting to take steps to ask Yukoners what they should be doing to solve the financial problem,” said Kneebone.

He said he’s been involved in similar financial assessments for every province in Canada, though this is the first territory to undertake such an exercise.

Premier Sandy Silver announced the formation of a five-member Financial Advisory Panel when he delivered his first budget last April.

The premier pointed out in his budget that under the current trajectory, the territory would be heading into annual deficits beginning next year.

The first round of public engagement and consultation was held during the summer. The next round of public engagement to gather input on the draft report begins today with a public meeting in Haines Junction, continuing tomorrow in Burwash Landing and Thursday in Beaver Creek.

It ends in Whitehorse in the first week of October.

John Glynn-Morris, the panel’s public engagement consultant, said the intent is to have the final report delivered to the government by no later than the first week of November.

The Yukon’s own tax revenue has also paid for a declining share of overall public spending, falling from 21 per cent in 2012 to less than 16 per cent in 2016, the report points out.

Kneebone said economists are united in their belief that the most effective method of raising revenue is through a sales tax.

Finding efficiencies in government can help to improve the financial picture, and there’s not a large corporation he knows of that can’t find efficiencies, the professor said.

During the public engagement process leading up to today, for example, it was suggested that government cut back on flying staff to conferences and to do more teleconferencing, he added.

But while finding efficiencies in government will help, that alone will not correct the situation, Kneebone said.

The panel has suggested restraining growth in government spending to two per cent a year would return the territory to a balanced budget by 2022/23.

Kneebone pointed out, however, that curtailing growth in spending comes with the price of restraining services to the public.

Cutting growth in spending even deeper, down to one per cent, would return the territory to a balanced budget by 2020, according to the conclusions of the panel in its draft report.

It says the government could combine restraint in spending with a territorial sales tax.

Implementing a sales tax would see an estimated 25 cents on the dollar being raised from visitors to the territory, the report notes.

Examples of steps that can be taken in the near future were pointed out this morning, including:

• Capping spending growth at two per cent and introducing a four per cent territorial sales tax to balance the territorial budget by 2020/21;

• Capping spending growth at 1.5 per cent and introducing a four per cent territorial sales tax to balance the territorial budget by 2019/20.

• Capping spending growth at 0.5 per cent and introducing a two per cent territorial sales tax in order to balance the territorial budget by 2019/20.

Each per cent of a sales tax is equivalent to $7 million, the report points out.

It says the government can do nothing and hope for the mining industry to heat up and provide additional revenues, as has been forecast by the Conference Board of Canada.

“The panel also notes the risk of doing nothing,” says the report. “If increasing revenue does not materialize, Yukon’s fiscal situation will become more difficult to manage at a later date.”

Kneebone said there are choices to be made, but there is no free lunch to be had.

If you’re digging yourself into a hole, the quicker you stop digging, the sooner you can crawl out of the hole, the professor suggested.

The report also points out medium- and long-term options that can assist with the territory’s financial health, right down to addressing the needs of aging Yukoners by helping them to stay in their homes longer to avoid the higher costs of being in care.

Perhaps there are efficiencies to be gained through developing partnerships between the government and private sectors, partnerships with First Nations, says the report.

In all, there are 26 options presented.

They include reducing personal and corporate taxes, and implementing a savings fund in the territorial tax system where money can be deposited when tax revenue exceeds the benchmark set for that year.

The fund could be drawn upon in years of not so plenty, the report suggests.

Eric Clement of the Department of Finance confirmed this morning the Taxpayer Protection Act requires the Yukon government to hold a referendum before introducing any new taxes.

A referendum would have to be held if a sales tax was introduced, or the legislation would have to be amended, he pointed out.

The impending carbon tax, he explained, is a federal tax.

In its options to be considered, the panel has recommended changes in the territorial tax structure which includes a universal cost-of-living tax credit of $300 per year.

“Undertake a review of the Yukon mining royalty and tax regime,” the report suggests.

“In particular, explore the possibility of increasing the rate on placer mining operations.”

Kneebone and panel chair Norm McIntyre, a Whitehorse chartered accountant, said they had no reason to doubt the Liberal government’s forecast of future deficit budgets presented in last spring’s territorial budget.

McIntyre noted the work of the panel has been completely independent of any government influence.

In his first budget, Silver forecast an annual budget deficit of $49 million in the 2018/2019 fiscal year followed by a $58-million deficit the year after and a $42-million deficit in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

In addition to Kneebone and McIntyre, the panel includes Grace Southwick of the Kluane First Nation, Tim O’Neal, former vice-president and chief economist at the Bank of Montreal and Trevor Tombe, assistant professor of economics at the University of Calgary.

During the vast majority of the 10-year overspending pattern the advisory panel cites, the territory was governed by premiers/Finance ministers Dennis Fentie and Darrell Pasloski of the Yukon Party.

Silver’s Liberal cabinet was sworn in last December.

Comments (51)

Up 0 Down 0

Bill on Sep 18, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Just look at one area from the last five years. Yukon Housing Corporation now has smaller budgets than before but has a bloated staff of over 60 including 5 managers, 5 directors, handfull of supervisors, 2 vice presidents (used to be one) and a full time president (used to oversee liquor corp and lotteries but now there is a full time president at liquor corp also). Don't forget the Board also and all the contractors that work there......hmmm. Just one example

Up 13 Down 1

Max Mack on Sep 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm

A. Stop with the incessant website redesigns and custom software solutions. GY is spending 10s of millions of dollars every single year, chasing new software - most of which is far too complex for our needs and requires millions more in annual upgrades and maintenance. Most of this software requires additional staff to manage, not less, or adds to frustration. Much of the data introduced into these new systems are crapola as employees find shortcuts to get their work done and lack proper training in how to code the new system.

B. Social marketing is not the be-all and end-all. We spend way too much on this flashy crap and the staff who promote it.

C. While dramatic cutbacks would be political suicide, GY could implement a hiring freeze in some areas and allow attrition to gradually taper the number of employees.

D. Put the brakes on large capital projects. We can't afford everything on our wish list.

E. "Green" energy and "sustainable" energy projects should only be undertaken when there is a high likelihood of payback within a relatively short-term horizon (even 20 years may be too long?). Conservative estimates of benefits should be used, instead of pie-in-the-sky numbers cooked up by vendors, activists, and eager policy analysts.

Up 25 Down 0

June Jackson on Sep 17, 2017 at 1:44 am

Travel bonus: I work in the private sector, part time, but I get a travel bonus.. I suggest you speak to your employer about why you aren't getting one.. the travel bonus itself is part of the old isolated post allowance, the amount is up to the employer in the private sector..I get 10% of my wage. The 2240. YTG employee's get is union negotiated as is the other big companies. Everyone is entitled to Northern Travel if you meet the criteria, live here at least 6 months, and the employers provides a travel amount in Box 32.

I am not able to thumbs up on this article, but I'd sure like to thumbs up Fiscal, Drum and several others..

Realist: you say, "why the hell should we not pay a territorial sales tax"? Ok..we should not pay a territorial sales tax because I don't want to.. I don't want any more taxes, I am taxed to death and working at 77 years old. I don't dare quit work with more taxes and program cuts to senior services coming down the tubes.. Trudeau has stated he will cut the GIS completely by 2019, and survivor benefits.. I don't get GIS but I am a widow and get survivor.. i have a real attachment to my roof, meals and medicine. Hope that answers your question about why we shouldn't pay a territorial sales tax.. 2018 will see a 30% hike in personal 2017 income tax, the tax knife at the corporate and small business throat, the elimination of all child benefit deductions.. and cuts in social programming..why on earth would you want to pay yet another tax?

Up 26 Down 0

Swamp Donkey on Sep 16, 2017 at 6:48 pm

First of all, while I am an employee of the Yukon government, the bulk of my working life has been in private sector. I am from The Yukon.
Let me relate an anecdote.
While in power, within the last 10 years, the Yukon Party cabinet decided that the department I work in needed a new full time position for a specific requirement. Upon consideration, I determined that this position was not required, as the expanded work load could and would be met by current personnel. I relayed this up the ladder, but this viewpoint was not shared and was ignored. Cost to the Yukon government? Another $150K or so.
Now this is not to single out the Yukon Party. Politicians are politicians and love good optics. I might add that upon the whole, and so far, I enjoyed working with the last edition of Yukon Party ministers much more than the current crop of Liberals. This might not be fair, as there is a learning curve, however, so far, Striker, Mostyn and Pillai's performances have been lacklustre at best.
Whats my point? I wish, oh HOW I wish that "ordinary" Yukon government employees (who, in the vast majority are conscientious, hard working and public service oriented) would be allowed to have input on how the Yukon government could save money. Unnecessary overtime? Its rife. Misuse of per diems? Ditto.
The Yukon government is full of positions, that while necessary, could be moved to a .8 (4 day a week) schedule.
But no one that matters seems to be interested in what we think.

Up 25 Down 3

FiscalFhil on Sep 15, 2017 at 11:43 pm

I know that most governments try to stay at arms length regarding hot button topics such as these. This story is one they need to read about.
This isn't a case of the public being disenfranchised with the government, this a case of too many doing so little.
I was once told, government isn't about free thinkers. I was also told, that the good workers get more work whilst the lazy get promoted.

The art of meetings is the social agenda of the public service in this town. Whether it's catering lunch for a meeting, or going for coffee at Chocolate Claim, or going out to a conference because someone has never been to Ottawa isn't a valid use of public money.

Now all of us, me included are public servants...heavy on the servants....and yet I have been in circumstances where clients are given a poor customer, no customer or told someone will call back. So the servants definition is open to interpretation depending on what level you are on in the food chain....

Greed, entitlement, and perks all are byproducts of being a public servant. Inverted pryramids, bloated management structures and filtering off viable solutions are also byproducts. Ever had a good idea only to have it taken and rebranding by someone else ??!! Is this the way others keep their jobs, and keep the real talent at bay?

How many of us who are considered "the help"...as we watch management, supervisors, directors, ADM's take hour long coffee breaks, and even longer lunches. While we clean coffee cups, and be the butt of criticism and hostility?!

Is it possible that they know we have few if any rights, and often have to cover, provide excuses and write briefing notes at the last minute to make someone else look good with our expertise?! Does not the public know about the differences in these layers, or are we all grouped together...uggghh!!!??!!

When the crisis is over, deadlines are met, year end is in the rear view mirror, we are ignored, excluded or minimized to the point where the accolades go elsewhere. Only to watch said individuals walk out the door at 3pm, ignore you in the hallway, look at you as sliced cheese, or get a coveted parking spot in the underground? Lotteries anyone.......do all the judges need that much space....opppps!

Not all public servants have poor work ethics. Some have creativity, that is often stolen and called someone's work. Some of us are educated, cultured and know more about birthdays, sympathy cards and retirements.
Some of us provide excellent customer service, follow up with a request, and do callbacks! And wait for it...don't take a coffee break, especially if a client is in front of us!

But oh the tall and mighty,.....the communication layer, the manager and director layer,.......the acting layer, the ADM's and the DM's who serve at the desire of the minister......

If government was not the be all and all, then a lot of these jobs would be the public sector.
One last thing, the amount of $ tied up in meetings, catering and overtime is startling. But government has to be cautious, because one government has inherited another's frivolity......so it has to find low suit.

I want a government that atones for mistakes, sharpens pencils, opens meetings to everyone, make policy analysts walk the walk, communications people know the subject matter, supervisors who care for the well beings of their staff, and lastly, leaders/mentors not egocentric bullies.

Up 8 Down 13

Olav Wolfe on Sep 15, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Here is a suggestion for a way to cut costs. Take a look at some of the services offered at some of the smaller airports. Do we really need to have a person, to talk to on the radio at these smaller airports?
I refer to Beaver Creek, Burwash, Teslin, Faro. I bet these airports don't have a total of 100 planes land at their site in a year. Carmacks and Minto have more aircraft coming and going than the airports I mentioned.

Up 29 Down 3

ralpH on Sep 15, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Dear Premier Silver the comments are quite clear and true. The bureaucracy has not only grown to a unsustainable level but has also taken control of the government. Your task is clear should you choose to accept it. Cut the head off the beast now before it is too late or feel the wrath of the public. Time is of the essence.

Up 20 Down 1

drum on Sep 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm

YG needs to centralize HR staffing and services. Each department should not have their own HR with their own preferences and ways of doing things. If you need a policy analyst in 5 different YG departments - the work description should be the same for any department. The way the system works now each department will run a very expensive staffing process instead of running one process and using an eligibility list to hire for all departments. One process saving many taxpayers dollars. The extra HR people not needed in the departments can be reassigned until they retire or move on. One HR department for the whole of YG. Move with the times - we are so behind the rest of Canada in our thinking.

Up 18 Down 2

Size of public service is tough to benchmark, but ... on Sep 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

in Atlantic Canada, it's about 90 employees per 1000 people (both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) and there's an initiative to keep the public service at that ratio. In the Yukon, that means that the public service should be about 3000-3300 full-time equivalent positions. If the numbers earlier are accurate (4000 fulltime, 600+ part time) then it's pretty reasonable to say the YG's public service is bigger than what it should be.

Up 5 Down 22

Realist on Sep 15, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Just as Trump's campaigning with the promise of simple solutions to complex problems got him elected, the masses are clamouring for the simple fix in this situation, which is axe YG positions.
Just drop that silly notion right now. No Yukon government would commit political suicide with that option even if it was easily accomplished, which it would not be. Don't blame YG employees. Who created the positions in the first place? Well, if we look at recent history, the Yukon Party can shoulder the vast majority of the blame, starting with the populist Fentie. Decreasing the payroll is going to take time, and it will take creative solutions. Early retirements, buy out options for those inclined to leave the public service for more satisfying pastures, voluntary pay reductions sweetened with other HR strategies, options do exist, but they wont be Silver bullets.
But speaking of taxes, just why in hell should we NOT pay a territorial sales tax? We have been suckling off the Canadian taxpayer nipple for years, and many Canadian provinces pay provincial sales taxes. Why are we so special? This refusal by many of the usual suspects to consider a sales tax is typical of the Yukon mentality: we're special and entitled.
Say what you will, but at least our current territorial government is exploring other options and ideas to save money/generate revenue.
How about raise campground fees to $200 per year? That ought to raise the hackles of the Frozen Chosen......

Up 39 Down 2

The Economists and this Panel has failed miserably in their first public report on Sep 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

A very simple analysis could have been done by looking at the growth in the Salaries, Wages and Benefits [ also called the Personnel Allotment in the budget] in the last 10 years in the YTG budget. This fiscal year the number is $ 516 MILLION, over a half a billion dollars! 10 years ago it was $309 MILLION...that is over $ 200 MILLION increase in 10 years. This is not rocket science. It does not require an advanced degree to figure out.

Up 44 Down 0

formerygemployee on Sep 15, 2017 at 9:16 am

Streamlining YG to eliminate duplicate functions. Every department has a HR division, with managers and a Director, 13 department x ($120k/director + $90k/manager) + duplicate advisors and support staff. Larger cities function with much smaller Human Resource departments, so can YG. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The Liberal government is running the same ship that the Yukon Party government ran, it's just that the excess baggage that has been sinking the ship all along is finally starting to show as the rats are climbing above the water line to safety.

Up 51 Down 2

Yukon_Lover on Sep 14, 2017 at 10:16 am

Look at these bozos..
Just look at the most luxurious building in WH --> The Salvation Army

Out-of-control spending by the Yukon Government? What's new?
Their only solution is to steal more money from civilized taxpayers. Gov't people are playing Sim City with our money. Sad!

Up 43 Down 1

What is the YG workforce - 4000+ on Sep 14, 2017 at 9:53 am

It's tough to find exact numbers, but I came across this page about opportunities- it says 4085 full-time employees, 600+ part-time employees. If accurate, that's a very large number for the population here, and I'm sure it doesn't include contractors. A reduction of 1% = say, 45 employees/positions, for an estimated annual savings of $3 million dollars. http://content.eluta.ca/top-employer-yukon-government

Up 42 Down 3

martin on Sep 14, 2017 at 8:28 am

I believe that reducing the YG employees is a pipe dream of mine, but how about if YG is to reduce their salaries? I mean across the board and especially upper management. YG can keep on hiring, increasing the transfer pay't and hopefully the snake pit will eat itself.

Up 38 Down 5

June Jackson on Sep 13, 2017 at 7:11 pm

There is something wrong with the concept of "taxing our way to prosperity"... As many people have pointed out here, YTG is way top heavy and needs to be pared down... the hiring practice needs to be looked at as well..I know an Admin Assistant from BC.. she was hired over the phone and YTG allowed $5,000. in moving expenses. Yukon College has a financial program and an Admin Assistant program.. why weren't these people hired? On the other side of that coin are the entitled career welfare relients who think the rest of us owe them a living..welfare is sooo easy, and generous.. so generous that combined with child tax benefit, it really IS more beneficial to stay home..The southerners bringing up parents for the senior benefits..well..costly to be sure.. but the worst part is, a lot of those seniors didn't want to leave their friends and routines to come here to babysit with long cold winters. We have to build more and more housing and more and more care facilities, hire more and more staff, eliminate drug and dental program, as more and more seniors flood the territory..

But, I wander.. what I really want to say is.. I do not believe there is a single Yukoner who is saying hell..yeah..let's put that sales tax on everyone and everything.. we can hire 200 more people to administer it, AND Yukoner's really want a sales tax on top of the coming carbon tax.. I do however believe a southern transplant would say.. 'I've always paid a sales tax.. lets stick it to 'em'.

Up 52 Down 8

Travel Bonus on Sep 13, 2017 at 6:47 pm

I'm sure cutting the travel bonus would go a long way towards helping the bottom line! Year after year I have to work through the winter while my lucky government employed friends get to hit Mexico up for a month in the sun. It's flat-out unfair that my tax dollars subsidize this little bonus of theirs and I would love to see it ended. And I also could care less how unpopular this will make me, you had your little bonus for a loooong time now while NONE of us trades workers ever got a travel bonus. Pay your own way like everyone else!

Up 36 Down 1

Miles Ocean on Sep 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

We need core spending for many government services and those very costly services like the Whistle Bend continuing care facility.
Trim spending in government by not replacing some positions as people retire. There is not a lot of fat but some things we can do without.

Please do not start saying government employees can no longer go to conferences. That is so backwards.
Every Yukon government department should have a goal of reducing spending by 5% within 3 years.

Up 26 Down 3

Look at reducing expenses first on Sep 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

The subject of hotel tax comes up regularly, but the Visitors' Association and TIA are split on it as rooms are already 'way overpriced compared to other areas. And a room tax is meant to go into advertising the Yukon as a destination, which YG already does. But additional taxes should be a last resort for a population that's already stretched financially with housing, electrical and other costs. Surely with a budget the size of the Yukon's, a reduction in operational budgets can be found!

Up 34 Down 34

Dave on Sep 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm

When you travel to almost any other jurisdiction in Canada and the USA you pay state/provincial sales tax, city tax, hotel occupancy tax, it goes on and on. Average combined sales taxes in most jurisdictions run a combined 12-18% now. I've always wondered why people who live in Yukon are the only ones on the hook for taxes here, everywhere else just hoses their tourists for every cent they can get. Most tourists I talk to find it amazing they don't have to pay Yukon sales and hospitality taxes here. And let's talk about the ridiculous gold royalties miners pay of 37.5 cents per ounce of gold that is currently worth $1,328 per ounce, how about we start taxing that 10% across the board?

Up 82 Down 6

Garrioch's Reliable Source on Sep 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

The Yukon Civil Service is absurdly oversized and overpaid
a salary and hiring freeze is long overdue

Up 86 Down 4

joe on Sep 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm

it's time to do an audit on all governments departments. It's obvious we have too many senior management people (unqualified people in big paying jobs created by conservative buddies) and review each departments' operations and efficiencies. Everybody knows whats going on.

Up 45 Down 12

yukon56 on Sep 13, 2017 at 11:28 am

During the vast majority of the 10-year overspending pattern the advisory panel cites, the territory was governed by premiers/Finance ministers Dennis Fentie and Darrell Pasloski of the Yukon Party. THIS SUCKS, Just saying.

Up 84 Down 0

Darrell Drugstore's smartest neighbour on Sep 13, 2017 at 11:02 am

"Yukon has been spending beyond its means"

So - let's raise taxes ?

OH ! WAIT !

Let's stop spending beyond our means

Up 49 Down 7

Just Sayin' on Sep 13, 2017 at 10:23 am

It surprises me the amount of government workers in the Yukon. It would be a good idea to remove some of the middle jobs and perhaps streamline other jobs by using technology. For example, before the invention of the ATM there used to be bank tellers, however, the invention of the ATM has allowed people to complete banking without ever interacting with a person.

I am sure there are numerous avenues where the government could utilize technology and be more efficient at the same time.

Up 64 Down 3

Tom Stevens on Sep 13, 2017 at 8:31 am

Wow, someone finally figured out that the bring all your friends and relatives and pony up to the Yukon Government trough is not sustainable. You get to be Deputy Minister, your wife gets to be Assistant Deputy Minister and so on and so on. The abuse of money has been epic and now the Territory has spent themselves into a whole looking after the self appointed group of Yukon Royalty and now the regular folk will foot the bill.

Welcome to reality boys and girls...

Up 56 Down 11

Groucho d'North on Sep 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

A Liberal government and the talk of applying new taxes? I wondered how long it would take after the election.

Up 58 Down 8

Yukon Watchdog on Sep 13, 2017 at 3:20 am

Freeze govt salaries, first and foremost. Reduce them by the suggested 4% sales tax rate even. Reduce the size of each department through attrition and whatever other means make sense. Less people; more work. Get rid of all the dead weight (check the buy and sell sites on Facebook during the day and fire every employee posting during work hours as a good first step). Reduce the number of vacation and paid sick days. Yes, I realize it is a union thing, but make it happen somehow. Govt should be taking the brunt of this pain. Taxing tourists is counter-productive. Relying on them to pay our taxes is wrong. We should be providing incentives for them to come! Thanks Pasloski! Your legacy lives on. Please Sandy, don't stick this on the little people. Trim government first.

Up 60 Down 1

Solutions on Sep 12, 2017 at 10:31 pm

A quick random search and count, https://beta.gov.yk.ca/en/find-employee/organization-detail/Community-Services and you will find 35 (managers/Directors/Supervisors/ADM's) in Community Services with 77 total employees. That is a 1:1 ratio of employees to managers.

For fun, Premier Silver, I encourage you to ask your Public Service Commission to give you a breakdown of managers to employees (a real honest look at it). I suspect you will find promotions to the highest levels to help each other get larger salary's, bigger pensions and more perks at the cost of the tax payer which may now become Yukoners (HST) and not just a Federal transfer payment.

I suspect if someone has the time to count all the YG employees vs managers that make up the more than $400mil of Yukon Government expenses we will find solutions to achieve a 2-4% savings option that is better than a HST that deters tourism, hurts lower income families (aka private sector folks) and impacts small businesses.

Up 57 Down 5

Staffing Changes on Sep 12, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Here's an idea, why not cut back on the high level management positions with ridiculous salaries and all the HR people who barely do anything. Services are provided by the front end staff that deal with the public and these are all useless term positions that get replaced by a new person every two years which adds to training costs and is ineffective in allowing people to grow in a job and actually get better at it. The fact that the government is the largest employer in the Territory is unsustainable but everyone wants to work there due to the large incomes and benefits which crushes the private sector and now will cost the rest of us more money in tax dollars to keep it going.

Up 31 Down 12

jc on Sep 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm

Silvers, just like his god in Ottawa gives liberally to anyone they know that supports their party. The next time the government gives out large raises to the politicians and the Union workers, maybe we the people, especially seniors should just picket the Legislature until they back down. All we need is a leader. The other special interest groups do.

Up 50 Down 11

jc on Sep 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm

I just dare Silvers to implement a sales tax. It will be the last time the Libs ever form a government in Yukon again. And you can take that to the bank. It was the Libs that got us in this deep anyway. Like the Federal Libs they always do. And to Kneebone, go back to Alberta and implement a sales tax there. Does Silvers actually think that Yukoners would ever support such a stupid idea? One way to reign in spending is stop giving the FN so much money. And let's make them pay taxes on their business profits as well as those high paid Chiefs and their council members. Many of us out here have a pretty good idea on how much they skim off the top for themselves and all tax free. Another way is to stop giving to NGOs. Let them raise their own resources like many other non profit organizations do. NGOs should get NOTHING!!! from government.

Up 40 Down 1

Pjt1959 on Sep 12, 2017 at 9:38 pm

I read where government has grown by 50% over the last 15 to 20 years. Maybe it's time to cut a lot of the upper management and consolidate. The workers are the ones needed not all of the high paying directors building empires. With the carbon tax already coming on everything we buy, then a sales tax ? Give your head a shake. Economists make big money so yes they would say sales tax as they want to protect what they are getting. I did ask if downsizing the government would happen when they where knocking on doors. As with the all governments and city included, they only want to raise taxes and build bigger governments as they get more money to build bigger governments. So time to look within before taxes. That is my rant.

Up 47 Down 3

Tim on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:58 pm

If you're in the wrong hole to start with, digging faster and smarter isn't going to help. Let's reduce the size of government especially at the level where the government has grown the most, at the Director, ADM and DM levels.

Up 37 Down 5

north_of_60 on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:45 pm

@Math is totally correct. I couldn't say it better.
"The amount of money is not the problem, it is how it is being spent."
The bloated government bureaucracy sucks up money that should go to ALL people of Yukon.
The Tax&Spend Liberals will give us a sales tax AND their fictitious CarbonTaxGrab. BOHICA
They better enjoy it while they can because the next election will see them gone.

Up 23 Down 13

Josey Wales on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Please folks, seriously are you surprised with this?
Stereotypes exist for reasons, tax and spend liberals...hello?
Seems yet more evidence of class warfare, a classic red team tactic.
They are after all "entitled to their entitlements"...
Kinda shocked actually the suggestion of hitting whitey with another percent for sales tax never came up...yet?

Up 43 Down 6

mark on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Maybe don't overpay the slacker government employees & cut half the jobs in each department, most of them just sit around and book vacations down south anyway.

Up 46 Down 5

Peter on Sep 12, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Now is the time for YTG to start charging YTG employees for parking on YTG parking lots. My last count of parking stalls in the Whitehorse area was 4200. Now this would recover at least 6 million dollars. YTG employees  have the right to park but they must pay. Snow removal, plugins, etc., is not free. Private sector has to pay, why not them? This would force people to consider city transit and then the city can afford more buses on the routes. This would reduce the traffic in the mornings and pollution.

Up 55 Down 3

joe on Sep 12, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Start cutting jobs in the government. We all know there are too many positions, especially in senior management; unqualified people in high paid jobs all over the government. Cut back on the boards per diems, most boards are only in place to feed ex-bureaucrats.

Up 38 Down 4

Peter on Sep 12, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Now is the time for YTG to start charging YTG employees for parking on YTG parking lots. My last count of parking stalls in the Whitehorse area was 4200. Now this would recover at least 6 million dollars. YTG employees have the right to park but they must pay. Snow removal , plugins , etc is not free. Private  sector has to pay, why not them? This would force people to consider city transit and then the city can afford more buses on the routes. This would reduce the traffic in the mornings and pollution.

Up 33 Down 4

The boys on Sep 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Why not check out the NGOs, looking for all the perks of YG, makes no sense, if they need more $, fundraise or quit giving yourselves raises.

Up 51 Down 1

Ginger Johnson on Sep 12, 2017 at 6:11 pm

OH ! GEE !
Let's reduce spending instead.
Getting rid of the ridiculous severance packages for defeated and NOT running again MLA's is a good place to start !

Up 51 Down 1

Kayotic on Sep 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The absolute last thing they should do is introduce a new tax. Seriously people, give your head a shake!!

Instead, take the wise route and do the hard work to make the government more efficient. Force all departments to move their simpler services online and get staff to focus on higher value work.

Next, be transparent and share service performance numbers with the public. The rest of the world has moved in this direction...Yukon needs to catch up.

Up 52 Down 4

Chicken farmer on Sep 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Do you realize how much money YG spends defending themselves against wrongful dissmissals? Harassment and toxic workplace accusations? Mismanagement and inadequate supervisors is a huge problem, and when employees Grieve and rather than offering reasonable settlements the government spends 100,000's of dollars defending the bad supervisor.
Look at Nehass alone! How much money was spent by the crown before staying the charges! How much on Hipma and AtIpp that was all absorbed? How much on legal fees? How much defending against the human rights violations? Are you kidding me!!
Union grievances are the same. I know so many people who have been good employees, and the boss just didn't want them around. Then they use free counseling at Many Rivers, go on chronic disease for depression because they were screwed and end up on SA after maxing out EI, while waiting years for hearings.
You want to save money? Stop backing inadequate supervisors and managers. They are easier to turf because they aren't unionized offer fair severance then turf them. What a joke this is. Why do they have so many communications officers in each department making $150,000 a year? Because they need them to manipulate the press and put out fire after fire.
Clean up your own departments, turf the toxic personalities and watch how much money you save!

Up 29 Down 4

ralpH on Sep 12, 2017 at 5:17 pm

A fun exercise would be to set up a watchdog society. Have memberships and satellite boards in every community with a main board in Whitehorse. Agendas based on the on goings of all levels of Government. Main board meets quarterly with one rep from each jurisdiction. Semi boards monthly or when needed. We would expose things that-are not right. Publish quarterly on website and take donations from those that are concerned. Monies also could be used when an ATIP request is needed. There are no checks and balances in government and everyone inside is too scared to expose it. Tips could be anonymous and acted upon during meetings. Time I think.

Up 63 Down 3

yukoner72 on Sep 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Cutting the 58 policy analysts would save approximately 5 million dollars, not to mention all the communications advisers, directors, ADMs & DMs which have reached obscene levels in the Yukon gov't. If all the bloat within the gov't is trimmed there would be no need for a sales tax.

Up 53 Down 1

Max Mack on Sep 12, 2017 at 4:54 pm

A stacked panel comes up with predictable recommendations and we are all supposed to be impressed.

Sales taxes? On top of carbon taxes (a consumption tax) on top of increased "environmental fees" (another consumption tax) on top of rapidly rising utility rates (another consumption tax) on top of the burgeoning cost of compliance with government regulation on top of ever-increasing landfill fees (also a consumption tax) and CoW taxes/fees/fines?

I suppose it will only end when my pockets are empty.

Up 102 Down 4

ProScience Greenie on Sep 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Just stop the historic ongoing government spending like drunken sailors Sandy and crew. Be the ones to finally end the nepotism, enrichment of corporate, consultant and NGO friends, bloating of senior management and general waste and inefficiency. Do that and we can avoid a sales tax and you get re-elected as a bonus.

Up 77 Down 7

ralpH on Sep 12, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Well here we go having to pay for political and bureaucratic mismanagement. Make them pay! cut depts. to the bone first and assess all the wasteful spending that has happened over the past ten years. Just don't assume that a way out is hitting us with the bill and continue with business a usual. Premier Silver wants to be fair to all Yukoners then spread the burden around.

Up 33 Down 9

Simon on Sep 12, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Have you seen some of the new online services that YG is putting out there? They have a beta website at https://beta.gov.yk.ca with a bunch listed that are actually pretty good. I found the vehicle registration renewal one quite slick.

Up 104 Down 18

Math on Sep 12, 2017 at 2:59 pm

How about public sector pay and benefits restraint? These have now grown so far beyond the private sector it's sickening.

And yet the answer proposed here is a sales tax on consumption that these economists know hits the low-income people the hardest because they consume 100% of their income. Approaches must consider those that narrow the ever-wider income disparities in this Yukon, not these that widen them further.

Spending on government salaries and benefits, and principally the massive expansion of bloated management levels, communications advisors and policy analysts has put us where we are. Take a look at the Cabinet Office and Finance which are even larger under this new government and deliver no public services at all.

The amount of money is not the problem, it is how it is being spent.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.