Well-off politicians insist they care about the poor.
“Reasonable limits on municipal liability would reduce insurance costs by about $27 million.
“Cut out the red tape – there are dozens of reports municipalities must file that no one reads. Let’s stick to reporting what matters.
“Municipal governments deliver most of the services that people in Ontario use every day.
“Local governments know their communities better than anyone, yet the Province regulates with a “one-size-fits-all” approach to what services are provided and how they are delivered. Local flexibility and control would make services more effective and affordable.
“If the province imposes any new municipal responsibilities or requirements, it must come with full, ongoing funding. If it’s important to the Province, the Province must pay.
“Municipal governments provide essential daily services and own more than 60% of all public infrastructure.
“Municipalities face a $4.9 billion annual gap to fund services and much needed infrastructure investments. Property taxes would need to increase by about 8 per cent per year, every year for the next decade, to maintain current services and close the infrastructure gap. Revenue is a key challenge. After reviewing more than 40 options, the best path forward for all municipal governments is new sales tax revenue. If not this, then what else will raise $2.5 billion annually for infrastructure?
“Queen’s Park should remove unneeded regulations and barriers, so that municipal governments can deliver services more affordably.
“Municipal governments need a stronger voice in how municipal services are designed and delivered, with flexibility for local circumstances.
“AMO recommends a new 1 per cent HST dedicated to funding municipal infrastructure and services, which would raise $2.5 billion.” Clang! Up that point, the AMO was making sense. But mention another tax and people recoil in fright like they would if they saw a “No free Wifi” notice.
As we near the June 7 election day, more real and imagined issues will crop up. It remains to be seen how long the hard economic reality faced by low-income workers will remain high on the political agenda.