Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 10, 2011
Council’s free lunch letdown
It’s not so much about the money. In the context of the city’s annual operating budget of about $1.3 billion, $33,000 a year in lunch money is not really a huge amount.
It is more about the sense of entitlement that seems to plague our elected officials, who, by the way, earn $80,000 plus expenses.
In workplaces across the city, people bring their lunches to work. Sometimes, they may order in — pizza, subs, Chinese, whatever — and they dig into their wallets to pay for that food. There is no free lunch for regular working Hamiltonians.
Why, then, is it OK — in their own minds at least — for our city councillors to spend our tax money on their working lunches? And why do they not, but for the odd exception, have the smarts to avoid sounding insensitive to the feelings of average citizens when asked about the lunch tab.
We know that wiping out the expense of the free lunches, as other municipalities have, will not magically fix our city’s budget woes or hold the line on property taxes. But, as is the case with a household budget, the little savings add up. The big question is: If Hamilton taxpayers are forking out $33,000 a year for lunches, what else might there be that we really shouldn’t have to pay for? (Source: Hamilton Spectator editorial)