Well-off politi­cians in­sist they care about the poor.

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - -- Richard Ma­honey

“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.

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