Electoral Funding Improvements
Whereas it is a significant financial cost to citizens and their supporters to seek urban municipal office in larger centers;
Therefore be it resolved that the SUMA advocate the Government of Saskatchewan to alter and amend the appropriate provincial legislation and work with the federal government to facilitate the following electoral improvements:
- Income tax deductions of up to $200 for citizens that contribute to a candidate's campaign in an urban municipality.
- Candidates be allowed to deduct a "reasonable amount" of their campaign expenses.
- Candidates, if they lose but receive 10 per cent of the vote or more, get their deposit back.
Be it further resolved that the SUMA advocate the federal government to provide a minimum tax exemption for elected officials as an acknowledgement and appreciation of their service.
- The first two issues regarding income tax deductions for campaign contributions and campaign expenses, plus the issue of a minimum tax exemption for elected officials would be within the responsibility of the federal and provincial ministries of finance.
- In the 2017 Federal Budget, the federal government announced that starting in 2019 the income tax exemption council members receive on a portion of their remuneration would be removed. Our municipal legislation currently provides that one-third of the remuneration paid to a member of council is deemed to be paid with respect to general expenses incurred that are incidental to the discharge of the duties of a member of council. However, this provision will be overridden by federal income tax changes in 2019. The province cannot implement new legislation that would contravene current or future federal law.
- Regarding returning deposits, only cities above 20,000 population require a deposit from candidates. Feedback in 2014 consultations with the cities that require a deposit as part of the nomination process (including the City of Prince Albert) indicated the requirement to return a defeated candidate’s deposit if the prescribed percentage of votes was received should be removed from The Local Government Election Act, 2015 (LGEA). Therefore, this was not included in the LGEA. The ministry will consider this request as part of the amendments proposed for the 2018-19 Legislative Sessions. The ministry will want to have a clear understanding of the rationale for the change. An option would be for this matter to be discretionary authority provided in a city’s election bylaw.