Municipalities need more federal funds
April 14, 2015
I am calling on the government in the strongest terms to provide increased, stable, long-term funding to our municipalities in the upcoming federal budget. Currently, despite providing increased services, municipalities receive only eight to nine cents of each tax dollar. In public meetings I have held in communities across our riding, providing increased funding to the municipal level of government was raised by local residents time and time again. I have also been meeting with local municipal councillors who have been unanimous in identifying the need for increased, predictable funding. Additional federal funds would help with the next phase of the community centre at Ward Park in Norland, for example, and the new fire hall in Millbrook. More federal dollars provided directly to our municipalities would increase services in Brock Township given its smaller tax base and go to fixing sewers in Lindsay and roads throughout our area. Funding would also help enhance rural transit in Haliburton County and Kawartha Lakes and be used to address homelessness. But how do we pay for it? For starters, the NDP would provide one cent of the existing gas tax to municipalities. Budgets are a matter of priorities. The current government is going ahead with income splitting at a cost of $2 billion. We can also go after off-shore tax havens which would put up to $8 billion back in the public purse for the common good. People in our area have also told me they want political advertising by the government stopped. I have estimated this would save close to $1 billion. Municipalities are governments accountable to voters. They should not have to spend the time, money and uncertainty of applying for federal grants to fund projects. I therefore call upon the Harper government to use Budget 2015 to provide increased, stable, long-term funding to municipalities to help us build our local communities.