02/02/2004

Toronto, Ont., February 2, 2004 – The Federal government has taken several critical first steps toward helping municipal governments with the fiscal imbalance that is exasperating their ability to fix basic municipal infrastructure.
Today’s Throne Speech means that Ontario’s municipal governments will recover over $150 million of municipal property tax dollars sent yearly to the federal government. Government taxing another order of government is difficult to explain and justify to taxpayers.  

Also welcomed is the commitment to work on the distribution of a portion of the federal gas tax revenues or equivalent means. This, and an acceleration of funds within the infrastructure funding envelop means that Ontario’s municipalities are in a somewhat better position to tackle their $5 billion annualized infrastructure deficit.  

“Today is the beginning of a new deal for all municipal governments, no matter the size, ” said Ann Mulvale, AMO President.  “Renewing municipalities is at the core of moving Canada forward, it is the core of moving Ontario forward.” 

AMO’s President is calling for the next step to begin immediately. “We need a trilateral framework agreement for Ontario that articulates the guiding principles for this new financial and working relationship. Such an agreement would provide the basis for new sources of revenue and revenue sharing for Ontario’s communities. To do any less would detract from today’s momentum and commitment and AMO is ready to come to the table.”

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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