10/22/2008

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan delivered the Fall Economic Statement. The current economic conditions lowered provincial taxation revenues.
As a result, the government is now projecting an operating deficit for 2008-09 of $500 million.

The government is taking measures to restrain its own spending by delaying or deferring some initiatives including the hiring of nurses and educational capital projects. Municipalities do not appear to be affected by these changes nor is there any suggestion of declining support for municipalities.

AMO continues to work with the Province and the City of Toronto on the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review. It is expected that the Review’s report will be released in the coming weeks.

The Fall Economic Statement does contain some Assessment Act housekeeping changes. These include:

• Implement the government’s 2008 Budget commitment to clarify and maintain eligibility for the property tax exemption that has historically been provided to long-term care homes established under the Charitable Institutions Act.

• Create a new property tax exemption for temporary residential dwellings (commonly referred to as granny flats) that are built to accommodate a senior family member and authorized by municipalities under the Planning Act on the same parcel of land as an existing house.

• Refine the property tax exemption for minerals to maintain current assessment practices and treat all mineral substances equally.

Other October announcements by the Ministry of Finance include:

• extending for one year the exemption of electricity transfer tax on publicly owned utilities when electricity assets are sold to other publicly owned utilities in Ontario, and;

• further enhancements are being made to exempt family farm transfers from the Land Transfer Tax.