No rebate program for people who donate to municipal candidates in Burlington


Published April 19, 2022 at 4:44 pm

Burlington council defeated a motion that would have seen a rebate for people who donate to municipal election campaigns at today’s city council meeting.

The goal of the program, which has been tried with limited success in other GTA-area municipalities, is to allow people from more diverse backgrounds and financial situations mount a campaign for city councillor or mayor.

The four councillors who voted against the program at Tuesday’s meeting – Kelvin Galbraith, Lisa Kearns, Paul Sharman and Angelo Bentivegna – cited a myriad of concerns that included limited success in other municipalities, unknown cost to taxpayers and the adoption so close to the campaign itself.

Those in favour – Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Rory Nisan and Shawna Stolte – thought the program’s goals of expanding democracy and making it more accessible were noble enough to overlook any potential pitfalls.

Similar rebate programs for individuals who make donations to candidates exist at both the provincial and federal level as tax credits.

The cost for the program was estimated to be about $41,000, a figure that hasn’t been accounted for in the city budget and one that didn’t include behind-the-scenes costs like implementation, education and staff time.

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