Teamwork needed to reach goals

I very rarely mention letters to the editor but a recent local letter is deserving of comment.

I very rarely mention letters to the editor but a recent local letter is deserving of comment.

The letter in question takes issue with who should be “credited” politically with a local project here in the region.

With my own announcement of pending retirement as an MLA I have also received recognition for some of the projects that I have been involved with over the years.

I believe it is important that the public have some added perspective on this issue.

After close to 17 years as an MLA, I can tell you that it is exceptionally rare that any one person can move a project forward to successful completion.

Generally speaking you need a team of dedicated and capable people who are able to work together in order to accomplish a significant public goal.

At the same time, there are also individuals who can provide a contribution that without such a contribution a particular project may have never reached the ground breaking stage or would have taken considerably longer to achieve.

From my perspective these citizens are indeed deserving of recognition and in the South Okanagan we are fortunate to have many such individuals who live here.

It also needs to be understood that the wheels of government typically move very slowly and driving one project forward may often come over another.

These decisions are sometimes made at the political level based on the amount of available resources and funding.

Cost pressures ensure that funding is extremely tight and most programs are oversubscribed while at the same time many other taxpayer services are competing for increased funding.

The south Okanagan has been fortunate in that our elected representatives have been able to collectively work together in partnership extremely well over the past decade.

Disagreements, bickering, and disputes may make for media headlines but they seldom achieve results for taxpayers.

Fortunately major disputes are rare in our region and if there is a consideration that I believe is often overlooked in politics, it is the ability to respect and reason with others.

There is a final point I would like to raise before I close this week’s report and that is a request that we never lose sight of the fact that when it comes to the subject of “credit” the most deserving is you, the taxpayer.

Without tax dollars there are no projects and services that collectively benefit our region and our quality of life.

Over the next year as B.C. moves toward the next election every resident needs to carefully consider how much you in pay taxes and what services are most important you.

As it stands today healthcare spending alone exceeds the combined revenue from B.C. personal income taxes, MSP premiums, and HST.

When you next hear the term “underfunding” ask how much more money is required and what taxes should be increased to reconcile that.

Bill Barisoff is the MLA for the riding of Penticton.