Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cities, Towns Need Fairer Revenue Base to Cover Growing Expenditures: Report: Municipalities Seek Fairer Revenue Deal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cities, Towns Need Fairer Revenue Base to Cover Growing Expenditures: Report: Municipalities Seek Fairer Revenue Deal

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - The country's municipalities say they have made progress in dealing with problems of aging infrastructure and new responsibilities handed off by other governments, but they still get the short end of the revenue stick.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has issued its first report on the state of cities and communities.

It says cities and towns are better off these days because they now have access to a share of the federal gas tax and because of major federal stimulus spending.

But they say a lot of the federal money will dry up 2014.

The federation wants a fairer tax deal to take some of the municipal burden off the traditional property tax.

They say almost all new tax dollars are sopped up by federal, provincial and territorial governments, leaving little for cities and towns.

"Municipalities collect just eight cents of every tax dollar paid in Canada," the report said.

"Meanwhile, they build more than one-half of the country's core infrastructure; they pay the salaries of two out of three police officers; and they fund downloaded responsibilities for social services, immigrant settlement and law enforcement."

Municipalities are trying to expand revenues with a number of new taxes, on autos, on land transfers, and hotel rooms, but the money from these is small compared with the property tax. …

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