05/02/2006

Toronto, Ontario, May 2, 2006 – Ontario’s municipal governments see promise in the Harper Government’s first Budget.
The Budget includes a commitment to work with provinces and territories over the next year on the fiscal imbalance.  It also fulfills commitments to a total of $7.1 billion in federal funding support for municipal infrastructure over the next 4 years.

The Current fiscal imbalance undermines Ontario’s competitiveness and undermines the fiscal sustainability of Ontario’s communities.  The Budget holds out a promise of dealing with the Federal-Provincial fiscal gap through further discussion over the next year.  Any advances for Ontario would allow the Government of Ontario to meet its commitment to upload provincial health and social services costs from municipalities and property tax payers.  

“Municipal Governments in Ontario welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to addressing the fiscal imbalance in this country, ” said AMO President Roger Anderson.  “However, Ontario’s property tax payers cannot afford to wait another year to see progress in the $3 billion gap between municipalities and the Province.

Today’s federal Budget also recognizes an important role for the Government of Canada in helping municipalities deal with Canada’s growing municipal infrastructure deficit. It commits to implementing promised federal infrastructure funding including an additional $351.5 million funding for public transit capital in Ontario and $312.3 million for affordable housing in Ontario in the form of trust funds.

“This Budget demonstrates that municipal infrastructure is a responsibility shared by all three orders of government,” said Anderson.  “It also demonstrates that municipal infrastructure is a critical component of the nation’s economic well being.”

As predicted, the Budget withdraws federal support for 11,000 child care spaces in Ontario, undermining the success of Ontario’s Best Start Program.

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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