01/30/2008

AMO President, Doug Reycraft, presented AMO’s 2008 Pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. The Submission sought continued transformation of fiscal arrangements.
The Submission builds on AMO’s campaign for a new provincial-municipal fiscal relationship. It recognises the significant changes the Province has made in the last year to address long-standing inequities and seeks continued transformation to strengthen the competitiveness of Ontario’s communities.

A key milestone was reached last year when Premier McGuinty announced a timed, full upload of two entire, key social programs - the Ontario Disability Support Program and the Ontario Drug Benefits Program. This change will reduce the province’s reliance on property tax revenues by $935 million a year by 2011. Despite these and other improvements in cost sharing arrangements, Ontarians continue to pay the highest property taxes in Canada.  

Highlights of the 2008 AMO submission include:

  • The need for further uploading of health and social service program costs; and
  • The need for additional investment in the municipal infrastructure that provides a foundation for the provincial economy.
These costs/needs are shared by all municipalities and their respective property taxpayers. 
In addition, other matters that relate to different groups of municipalities were also raise, among them:
  • The need for additional provincial investment in Broadband to support communities, small business and industry;
  • The cost to municipalities of providing service to crown lands;
  • The need for the Province to address the “heads and beds” levy paid in lieu of property taxes for provincial institutions such as universities and hospitals – which has been frozen since 1987; and
  • The need for the Province to take back the costs of providing security services in provincial courts.
AMO calls on the government to continue the transformation that will ensure a sustainable fiscal future for Ontario’s communities into the 21st century.