It is All About Fairness – No Freeloaders!

I cannot stay silent any longer on this subject because I am sick and tired of listening to business people complain about how they are unduly singled out with higher taxes and other parasitic encumbrances to their bottom-line, and that they should be given tax breaks. In traditional fashion, you have the Right-wing saying that all businesses must be taxed in order to stay competitive, while on the Left-wing side, they say businesses must pay more in taxes because they make the lion’s share of the profits. Oh Boo-Hoo. I am tired of everyone from property owners to business people saying that everyone else except them should shoulder the taxes burden. I just heard a small business owner say that all taxes should be dumped on the consumer and property owners while they focus on enjoying their profits and employing more works. Oh-no, I say pooh to that, everyone pays their share—period, especially those who make huge profits in my city!

Ok, we have this issue of gentrification, and it is prevalent in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Gentrification is where you have a depressed area, become affluent and prosperous as a higher class of the socioeconomic population moves in as their boundary spreads outwards. When you have an area where everyone wants to live, that area goes through a cycle of inflation as property prices and costs rise. So too for businesses, as they enjoy rise in the boon of consumers. Nothing is free, as all must pay to enjoy the benefits of this. It boils down to choice. People move to the cities, like Vancouver, because they want to enjoy its weather climate, and the bounty of employment. Businesses do this along the same lines of reasoning too. But sooner or later, inflation creeps in, and so too do taxes. Remember, you have a choice to stay or leave—simple.

The majority of Canadian’s taxes are paid through taxing their income. This concept of paying taxes on the amount of money you make, goes back to the Second World War in Canada, and is one that many have no choice in the matter. You earn a pay cheque, you employer is obligated, in most cases, to collect that money on behalf of the Government. But the bulk of Income Tax goes to both the Federal and Provincial Governments, leaving the Municipalities left to eke out their sources of revue in other ways. So municipalities share the proceeds on mostly businesses and property taxes that they tax directly. I am probably over simplifying the tax laws here, as there are hundreds of different forms of taxation in Canada, but this is a thumbnail sketch of where and who gets what. So as a community grows, in its population and services, so too does its operational costs and development.

The idea of fairness is simple: all of us, who choose to work and live in an area that is going through gentrification, must pay their fair share, no matter who you are. If you are a home owner, then yes, you pay your taxes. As businesses who want to set up in this area as well, they must pay their fair share in taxes too, as they enjoy the prosperity and volume of consumers moving through their doors. Usually it’s the business owner who argues that the market economy should run the world; then let it be so, as the market place becomes over saturated, and the population shifts, then businesses should make a choice. If they have to raise their prices for their wares, then so be it, but to stay competitive by paying less in taxes is not fair—then you need to adjust your profits.

Bottom line, everyone pays their fair share in taxes. No one should be exempt, or reduced, from their fair share in taxes within the population. If you come here to make a profit, then you come here to pay your taxes to enjoy all the benefits that come with living here.

My Take On Property Assessments

The privilege of being a property owner is the right to do with it as you wish within reason. As a landlord, there are huge benefits, and responsibilities. However, as land is a “fixed” product, meaning that there is, and always will be, the surface area of the Earth to own and live on (in this context), so the value will hinge greatly location. When one area of the plant becomes desirable to live on, then so to does its value. With value, comes taxes, as land can’t move, or be relocated. Hand in hand, when its value goes up, so to does its taxes as most countries’ governments are depended on land taxes. Here is my take on Property Assessments, as my region undertakes what it calls Property Assessment Season, the time of year when British Columbia does it property assessments evaluations.

On one side of the table you have the land owners, who are loving the growing rates of real estate values in many regions, so their potential investments are, in some cases, beyond their wildest expectations. Where I use to live, the Lower Mainland near Vancouver, property values have sky rocketed, so many there are enjoying their investments grow over the couple of decades to the point that they are, in some cases, worth millions. Almost everyone has enjoyed this increase. Not too many property owners are complaining about their investments today, only those who wish to buy.

On this other side of the table, are the Governments, who all are enjoying this boom in property value as well becuase their cut of the pie is in the form of taxes. It goes hand in hand that both sides should prosper. Simple, eh? But here is where fun starts, in my opinion.

So the BC Government has just released their Property Assessments, and mailed them out to the property owners, plus you can go on-line and see them too. And so the grumbling starts. Many are not happy, and see this as a huge burden, especially those who have huge mortgages against their properties. Maybe many of those who are in this huge state of debt should think twice about being property owners in their desired area to live? But nevertheless, as a property owner, very few reasons can be given to kick you off of it, unlike a tenant in a rental situation. But back to the point, and I call this greed–plain and simple. Your investment has grown beyond your expectation, yet you see many parasites nibbling way at it. Sure, taxes can be seen to be that way, but when your bottom line is just barely able to keep up, any parasitic increases are seen as critical. Perhaps some land owners have forgotten what taxes do, and why inflation in land reflects in costs of services? It is called “inflation.”

One of the criteria built into the assessment is the land’s market value. But Property Taxes reflect more than just market value, they also reflect the community that you live in, such as what utilities you have servicing your community, and future developments. Sadly, I see land owners refusing to see this, but rather looking into their pockets and seeing the gouging by taxes taking place.

Roundabouts and Terrace, BC

OK, we have all heard the news by now about the main highway from Smithers, and Kitimat, BC, going into Terrace, being changed from a four-way stop to a roundabout. And we all seem to have an opinion on this. So I did an unscientific pole at my work, just to see what everyone there felt about it. The comments were both interesting and entertaining, and full of myths and lore, of what will happen once the roundabout is in operation. But first, please have a look at the link from the British Columbia’s Government website, before I move on in this post.

Highway 16 and 37 Intersection (BC GOV CA, as of December 28, 2017)

So, the number one reason for not having a roundabout in Terrace, BC, is: No one will know how to use it, and there will be accidents galore as everyone tries to figure it out.

Number two: People from out of town will never figure it out.

And three: It will be a complete disaster during rush hour, as driver’s compete with the transport trucks motoring through the intersection.

When I first heard about the idea of replacing the intersection with a roundabout, I was a bit in awe. Having come from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I have driven over a few roundabouts in my time. The most frequent roundabout I used was at McCallum Road and Highway 1 in Abbotsford, BC. To see this roundabout, please go to the BC Highway WEB-CAM link.  I was actually quite amazed at well it worked. When I seen it for the first time, I had no troubles navigating over it, as long as I knew which lane to be in. The marking on the road were quite clear about that. So, the one  about to be built in Terrace, should be the same.

The BC Government made this nice animation about how the traffic should flow while using the roundabout versus the existing four-way stop we have now.

Next is a propaganda video about the myths of roundabouts, and why they are better than four-way stops.

Anyway, my personal thoughts about having this intersection changed is a positive one. I see it as something that is badly needed, and was happy to hear that it will be built, starting in spring of 2019. I think this will be a boon for any highway traveller going through Terrace, BC.

I Saw My Old Pathfinder On the Road

This was both funny and neat to see; I saw my old vehicle on the highway as I was coming home from work today. The smell of fuel was in the air, and I could see little droplets of fuel hitting the ground behind it, as I followed it into Thorhill from town. The new owner did get it going, not that the old Pathfinder was not running, but they obviously only did a band-aid repair to it, to get it back on the road.

If you remember a while back, I took the Pathfinder off the road becuase of a major fuel line leak that spewed out about a litre of fuel per hour. Driving it meant that you took a huge risk of damaging the place you parked at, or if you created a spark/heat source hot enough, you would have a nice size fire underneath you. I hope they fixed that. But by the smell of it, I do not think so.

The other issue with it when I sold it was rust. Not only did the fuel line rust away, but the frame was about half gone as well. In all honestly, I figure there is at least less than a year before the rear frame falls apart. But, hey, if they can weld all that back up, then I tip my hat to them.

I am happy that they got it drivable again, some what. May they live long and travel lots. Happy trails to the new Pathfinder owner.

Snow Removal to Air Plants

Where to begin? First I will talk a little about the snow removal issues that are going on in my little corner of the universe. There has been lots activities on that subject over the four days–to say the least. Second, me and Suz., went to the various local markets, to see old friends and see what lurks in the deals department, or anything that might “tickle our fancies.” It was a win-fall for Suz., as she won a huge basket of goodies in a draw that we entered. Lastly, I finally bought an air plant. Yes, a plant lives in the air, and has no need for soil. How cool is that!

The topic of snow removal has been a hot, yet muted, issue here in the sleepy little town of Terrace. We have been bracing for cooler and more wiled weather, since the weather scientists have been overwhelmingly predicting such. So far, for the this month, they have been right on the mark. So too have the snow removable companies, as they gear up for the bonanza of business. With my case, the snow plough company has been very aggressive with their efforts of make sure we have spotless yards, free of snow, before we start our day. However, with the lull in business over the last few years, they want their share of the pie, and when you are main game in town, it goes hand in had with modern day thinking, to want it all. So any way possible, to charge extra for work, especially when you do business for a large corporation, is oh so natural. At my work, the battle rages, as the snow removal company wants more money for there services, yet at the same time, wanting to leave the contract the way it is. I say, get some competition in this town.

My hat goes off to the very lucky Suz., as she won the huge basket of goodies today. It was kind of amusing, we were eating at the Golden Star Chinese restaurant, when she got the call. The women that called her is also named Suz., so it was kind of funny to know that there are Suz. One, and Suz. Two–they worked that out for themselves. It was Suz., Two that called to let Suz. One, know she won the door prize. Tomorrow, Suz. One will collect her prize.  Yay!

I finally got an Air Plant! I have it sitting on my old lamp by the window. This is a short term solution until I get something more permanent for the plant. The lamp “arm” seems to be a perfect spot for the plant for now, as it is right by the window, and easy enough for me to spry-water it. This was something that I always wanted for a long time (since I heard about them on Twitter, from a contact).

Six Months Later

Today marks a mile-stone since I moved back to the North. It was six months ago today when I undertook that move, the sixteen hour drive, with all my worldly possessions in tow, leaving the hectic and very expensive Southern British Columbia behind, and moving to the more manageable North Coast. I moved for a better life, a special someone, and less stress. All has been very damn great; a move that I should have done years before. 

Hockey Night in Terrace: Guns Vs Hoses

Me and Suz, went to the Terrace Arena last night to see the game between the RCMP and the Fire Fighters. This was a charity event with a few half time events featuring a small game between the “Tim Bits” players (very young hockey players), along with various other charity events along the side, such as a 50/50 draw and Puck Toss. We had a lot of fun, even though the first official snow storm of this fall and winter season was raging outside. We made it safe home feeling great.

There were quite a few people at the game. I could not tell you how many, guessing, I would say a couple of hundred? But there were enough to make lots of noise. Also, from this charity, seeing the Police and Firefighters play was the apex of this event, as ticket sales sky-rocket for this game. Perhaps many people have their favourite side for whatever reason, but all the money raised goes to charity, and this event pays out a lot of money just for this game alone–it is very popular. No idea how much is raised, but tickets are only five bucks, and then there are all of the other events in between that you can participate in for a small fee. A very worth while event to see.

During the first intermission, we saw the very tiny Tim-Bits players go, as they play a short game out on the ice. It was cute to watch, and there were some good goals. Those young hockey players really gave it their all.

During the last intermission, there was the Puck Toss, where the idea was, you buy a puck to toss out onto the ice, and the winner is the puck that makes it as close to the middle of the centre line (centre face-off point) as possible. So, the announcer calls the start time in which you can throw your puck out onto the ice, then after a few minutes, all the pucks have to be thrown. So there is some strategies at play here. Being close to the centre line helps a lot for that critical toss, and waiting for the all the puck to land help too, as a lot pucks get bounced away by other pucks tossed afterwords. The fellow sitting beside us won the Puck Toss.

The game itself was action packed; however, one sided on all accounts. The Hoses, or Infernos, ruled the game with a shut-out victory of six to nothing, with the first period scoreless. For some reason the RCMP could not get their game together, as they seemed to have great plays, but shots on goal was not in their favour. They played good defence in the first period, but after the second, it was all down hill from here. The Hoses kept the heat on after scoring four goals in second, and their final two goals in the third period.

The winners! The firefighters from Terrace, Thornhill and Kitimat, British Columbia, as they have their victory pose with the trophy.

The above image is all of the players who played in tonight’s game from both teams. If I fined out later how much money was raised, I will post it here. In all, worth the five bucks to be there for the entertainment. Awesome night!

Sold the Pathfinder – Yay!

Just a quick post. I just sold my Nissan, Pathfinder, just moments ago, to a couple who live not to far from my place, around the Copper Mountain Subdivision area. They were happy, as they got a good deal, and I am happy, I got rid of it rather than taking it down to the scrap metal place. At least it will be driven around for a little while longer if they can fix the fuel-line issue it has.

I got a “thumbs up” from the messenger from their Facebook account, so that must mean they are unbelievably happy with it–or at least I hope they are. In the end we agreed on $300.00 clams for it, a fair deal if I do not say so myself.

I am happy. Now I get my parking spot back for my newer car. Thankfully, the apartment next-door has not rented yet, so I was using that spot. So I had until the end of the month to get rid of the truck.

Thanks to the guys at my work, and some help from Suz., I set up a Facebook account, to log onto the local buy and sell chatroom and with in three days I was getting messages about the Pathfinder.  So that is how you buy, sell and do things around here, as the dedicated websites are to full of scammers and idiots.

A great day!

I Bought the Car!

I finally got it! I own a new set of wheels! I have transportation again! Yes, I bought a 2014 Ford Focus. Sure, it is a used, err ummm, pre-owned car, but it is in very good condition. With just over 62,ooo KM on the odometer, it sort of feels like a new car, well to me anyway. When I took the car for a test drive the week before, It handled nice, tight steering, good traction, and the engine sounded great–could hardly hear it. With a black body, and black and grey on the interior, the looks very black. And it has a lot of stuff into.

Getting financing was at story unto itself. For nearly two weeks I had tried to a loan. Two major hurdles. First, I only lived up here for lass than six months. Second, with my very good wage, I still had only worked for my current employer for just over three months. This put me in the “high risk” category. Remember, I nearly had three-quarters of the money already sitting in my saving. My goal was to bolster up my credit to eventually buy a house. So I was comfortable borrowing the money, the question was from who, Bank or Dealership financing?

A bump in the road to buy a car from my Bank’s loan was that the car could be no older that a 2013, and had to be in the range of twelve thousand dollars. The issue here was that it takes time for the Bank to give me the green light for that vehicle. So, sadly, I lot the first two cars I was looking at becuase of this huge waiting process from my Bank. Although I final got this car through the Bank’s loan, it was a nail biter.

My other option for the loan was to go through the dealership’s financing. Sure, I passed that hurtle, but the For Focus that I eventually bought, had was a called a “Declaration” against it, meaning it had been in a accident, repaired, but the loan could not be issues becuase of it. So, dealership loan was out for this car, and there were no other cars that fit what I wanted to spend. I had my personal limits too.

So, the dealership kept the car, as long as I made an offer, which meant I did not put money down on it, but told them that my Bank was going look over everything before they approve the car. My Bank wanted to see the paper work, with stuff link VIN numbers and dealership’s information, before they would give the OK for me to buy it.

The car was worth more than the loan, so some of the money came out for my savings. No problem, I was OK with that. But it did ass to the time waiting with my Bank. But it was all cleared up.

In the span of one week, the car was mine. I took it off the lot today at 4:30pm. Remember that I had to take a copy of the ownership papers to my Bank, then get the car insurance, and then go back to the dealership to get the keys. Thank you, GM MacCarthey for the courtesy car with driver, so that I could get to and from the Bank and insurance building without having to walk. They were awesome!

Now I do not have to walk to work! Yay!

All Eyes Looking

The quest for the vehicle continues. Right now, it is deciding whether to go with what the Bank has offered me, or go with what the dealership can do. But for now, I am still looking. I have already lost two great deals becuase my Bank took so long drawing up the paperwork, and I fear I might loose another becuase these things take so long to do up here–I just got approval, but at a lot less than what I need for around here. But at least I have options, so I decided to give the other side of the street a look, in other words, I might skip the Bank altogether and just go with dealer financing instead.

I totally understand, or at least I think I do, the inner workings of what buying a car is all about. Each dealership seems to have slight variations on selling vehicles. Some include the sales tax and dealership fees, while others do not. Some have “special buys” with tax included, while other “special buys” come with packages attached that usually cost extra money. One dealership that I went to told me that all of their cars have no tax included on the sticker price, or other fees attached. So, going car shopping means you are confronted with a sale person who wants the deal to go their way, so you have no idea what is in fact a good deal or not, but they make it sound so good that you are getting a break. The question is, are you getting a break?

So I think I found a car that will get me by for now. I am going to go with the dealership financing instead of the Bank pre-approved loan, just becuase it is fast for everyone. Sure, my Bank will loose their cut, but they still have me as a customer. All I want is a car, albeit a used one, but still new enough that I can sell it again, and go for something I really want later on when build my credit score, or buy it out-right.

I had no idea that buying through a dealership up here in Terrace was a pain. Now I see why so many choose to save first, then buy out-right. It makes sense now. Even talking to people who have awesome credit scores, and good financial connections, are still faced with a huge waits. It is way different than what services you get down in the Lower Mainland in my humble opinion. But I can not knock anyone person directly–everyone has been great helping me out. I understand that I am asking to borrow money, so I do not mind paying extra for that, but I need a car now, not later.

So tomorrow I try again. This time me a Suz., will go down together and look. Maybe the Car Gods will be on my side then, and all will work out. For now, all eyes are looking in all directions, searching for that car with the right fit.