Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Fiscal Imbalance - The Real Deal

The city of Montreal, strapped for cash, will slash civic programs and services later this year to make up for an estimated $400-million shortfall. Mayor GĂ©rald Tremblay has stated the obvious, property taxes aren't generating enough revenue to cover costs and the city is struggling to control expenses.

Any visitor or resident of Montreal can tell you that the city has major infrastructure problems -especially with sewer, roads and bridges. The city has deferred major capital investments- needed to fix roads and improve public transit - for decades.

An example of potential program cut - The School Crossing Guard. It costs the city $6 million a year to put crossing guards on street corners across the island. Plus, taxpayers are paying for that service in their right pockets and they're also paying in their left pockets for crossing guards that are financed by the Ministry of Education outside the territory of Montreal.

The real fiscal imbalance in this country exists between municipalities and the two levels of government - provincial and federal. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin's New Deal for Cities is just the start of some real changes that are needed. The majority of Canadians rely on civic services for everyday functions, this is more than pothole politics.

Well said mate !
Regina will be in the same boat or a massive increase in prop. taxes. The issue is over reliance on one revenue source. The real reason US cities have better infrastructure is flexible revenue generation. They also have lower prop taxes.
My only issue with federal involvement is that it is a provincial responsibility. The feds should be dealing with the provinces imbalance so they can in turn address the municipal issues. Pragmatically, tax point transfers are the easiest and best. But actually taxation powers would be better in the long run. My campaign will focus mainly on acquiring a set formula for transfers from the province based on tax revenues in the jurisdiction. 1-2% PST and 1-5% of PIT and CIT. This would allow prop taxes to be decreased by as much as 30%.
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