2014 Fall Economic Statement Highlights
Below are highlights from the Minister of Finance’s Fall economic statement:

The 2013-14 provincial deficit is $10.5 billion.  The Province’s total revenue projection for 2014–15 is $509 million lower than the 2014 Budget forecast.  The 2014–15 total expense outlook is $208 million lower than projected in the 2014 Budget.  We will continue to monitor the provincial fiscal projections on behalf of AMO members as reduced revenues may result in additional program reductions or other actions as the Province works to balance its budget by 2017-18.

Also of note for the municipal sector:

Provincial Land Tax
Today’s statement reaffirms the government’s commitment to bring forward proposals for implementation in 2015.  Provincial land tax is the tax paid in the unincorporated areas of northern Ontario that are outside municipal boundaries.

Power Dam Special Payment
The planned reduction to the Power Dam Special Payment Program for 2015 will be deferred.  Municipal representatives have been in discussion with provincial officials on this issue.  Affected municipal governments and AMO have called on the provincial government to cancel the proposed $4.4 million cut to these payments.  Failing that, options are being explored to reintroduce the municipal taxation of power dam properties.  

The 2015 deferral removes an immediate financial risk to over 100 municipalities for the short term.  Continued advocacy for 2016 and beyond is required to minimize the municipal fiscal impact of this proposal.  AMO has secured a commitment to look at cumulative impacts that provincial decisions such as this bring to the sector.

Infrastructure - OCIF announcement
The government today announced $50 million in formula allocations for eligible municipalities under 100,000 population, providing three years of stable support for municipalities. Announcements for the other $50 million in the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) project applications and the Building Canada Fund-Small Communities Fund are anticipated in the coming months. OCIF will be reviewed in the future with a view to moving toward full formula allocation.

The Ontario government pledged $29 billion over ten years in its 2014 Budget for transit, highways and other infrastructure projects - $15 billion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and $14 billion outside will support priorities such as GO Transit and Regional Express Rail, as well as highway expansion.  Many projects were announced during the Ontario election.  BCF infrastructure funding under the National Component is also available for application.  AMO is awaiting the announcement of the BCF Provincial/Territorial Infrastructure Component in Ontario. Members will be advised immediately when this Fund is announced.

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