Multi-media journalist Wolf Depner of Saanich News is the winner of the inaugural Media Award from Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria for his stories that resulted in the municipality reviewing its permissive tax exemptions.
Non-profit organizations including religious institutions in Saanich may have to justify their permissive tax exemptions in the future as a result of the series.
“We believe it’s very important to recognize exemplary media coverage focusing on local government,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.
“Talking or writing about taxes, religion and politics in public is difficult but Mr. Depner managed to accomplish that in an informed, balanced fashion.”
Depner wrote a series of stories in September: Humanist group says Saanich taxes public purse with tax exemptions, Religious institutions in Saanich may have to justify their permissive tax exemptions, and Vancouver Islanders ponder the traditional practice of giving tax breaks to churches.
“It is a great honour to receive the inaugural edition of this award from the Grumpy Taxpayer$. It is also personal motivation to keep looking for stories that survey the state of public finances, which are ultimately stories about personal finances,” says Depner. “Democratic self-governance waxes and wanes with the scrutiny that elected and unelected officials face from members of the public-at-large, citizens groups like Grumpy Taxpayer$, and the media among other actors, and it is a big privilege to be recognized for my small part in this process.”