05/11/2005

Toronto, Ont., Wednesday, May 11, 2005 – AMO cautions its members that the 2005 Ontario Budget offers little in terms of new revenue, appropriate cost sharing or added powers for the 445 municipalities that provide front-line community programs and services throughout the province.
“No news is unfortunate news for Ontario municipalities,” said AMO President Roger Anderson. “This second budget of the McGuinty government offers no substantive new initiatives with respect to addressing the shortfall between the costs municipalities incur delivering downloaded provincial programs and services and the provincial revenue they receive. Municipalities appear to be left in the lurch while we wait for progress in the 2006 and 2007 budgets.”

AMO commends the Province for working closely with municipalities as a respected order of government in the interest of building strong communities. However, progress must be measured by the extent to which municipalities receive revenue sources and authority commensurate with their growing responsibilities and the work they do on behalf of the province.

AMO believes that the most significant barrier to strong communities in Ontario is that Ontario’s municipalities are caught in a fiscally unsustainable position. Municipalities are required to spend about $3 billion more each year on provincial programs and services than they receive in payments from the province.

“While we recognize that this municipal funding gap cannot be corrected quickly, AMO believes a plan of action is needed to achieve the goal over time. That plan of action appears to be missing,” Anderson said.

Ontario will not benefit from financially sustainable municipal government in the future if steps are not taken today. AMO’s immediate priorities for 2005, as communicated in its pre-budget submission to the Province, include initiatives such as:

  • Granting municipalities access to new revenue tools to fund key services;
  • Exempting municipalities from paying Provincial Sales Tax (PST); and
  • Providing municipalities with additional provincial gas tax revenue to support municipal transportation including the over 5,000 km of downloaded provincial roads and bridges.
AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 445 municipal governments. 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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