03/24/2006

The 2006 Provincial Budget invests in municipal roads and bridges and public transit systems, but fails to deliver any additional uploading of provincial health and social services costs.

AMO sent out the attached News Release immediately following the Budget Speech.

A few new items of note include:

  • Under a new “Move Ontario” program, the provincial government is making a new $1.2 billion investment in Ontario’s public transit systems and municipal roads and bridges, including:
    • $400 million in one-time grants for roads and bridges in municipalities primarily outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with special emphasis on rural and northern communities (allocation details are expected within a few days); and,
    • A new one-time investment of $838 million in transit in the Greater Toronto Area, including investments in Toronto, York Region, Brampton and Mississauga.
  • The Province will provide municipalities receiving provincial gas tax funding for transit with the flexibility to use these funds for transit-system operations.   
  • A new permanent Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) grant component starting in 2006 to provide $56 million in additional base funding targeted to a handful of municipalities with high social program costs relative to the household incomes of their residents.  
  • Increasing social assistance allowances for recipients of Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) by two (2) per cent. Beginning in 2007, this will mean additional costs to municipal property taxes of approximately $19 million annually.  Municipalities currently subsidize these provincial income support programs by more than $1 billion annually.    
  • The Province will provide $4 million to establish a Bio-Energy Research Centre in Atikokan to accelerate work now underway on the future use of the Atikokan Generating Station.
  • Details from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on the 2006 additional land ambulance funding announced at the ROMA/OFRA conference are expected before the end of March. 
For a detailed analysis of the Budget, please see the Budget Analysis prepared by the Municipal Finance Officers Association (MFOA) and posted on the AMO website.  

The Province has delivered a transportation infrastructure Budget including one-time road, bridge and transit funding of $1.2 billion for municipalities.  AMO will be working hard with the support of its members to help Premier McGuinty fulfill his commitment to Ontario’s municipalities to address the Provincial-Municipal fiscal gap.