12/17/2003

Toronto, Ont., December 17, 2003 – The Liberal promise to fund public transit was seen as the beginning of a New Deal for Ontario’s municipal government and the government’s response to today’s economic statement may put this in jeopardy.

“AMO cannot rest until we get a plan in place to ensure municipal government is properly financed,” said AMO President Ann Mulvale. “To meet the servicing needs and priorities - to ensure public health and safety in those services, many municipalities will have little recourse other than to increase fees and property taxes or to try to cut back on services.”

Of every tax dollar collected, only about six cents goes to municipal government.  Municipal revenues are not keeping up with the cost of living, let alone the service responsibilities.  “The direction taken today by the Province means that we will be further behind in trying to remedy the growing gap,” said Mulvale. “We hope that Prime Minister Paul Martin’s commitment to a New Deal for municipal government unfolds soon. We expect the Premier will work closely with us in order to move the federal initiative forward quickly and that he works with us to contain our costs that flow from provincial government legislation and regulations.” 

AMO understands the province’s fiscal challenges. Municipalities have been facing similar pressures for years.  The call for action to find sustainable solutions to the growing fiscal imbalance has been widely embraced by the business community and community groups, among others. The provincial government’s commitment to helping resolve this imbalance will not be forgotten.  

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization with member municipalities representing 95 per cent of Ontario’s population.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

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