Policy

Canadians: Higher Taxes Please!

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 16, 2008

Someone tell Jim Flaherty: according to a major poll just released by the Federation of Canadian Municipalies, Canadians want the federal government to do more to help fund municipal infrastructure.

Over 90 percent of those polled believe the federal government should provide more money to municipalities.

They are so concerned about municipal under-funding that they would have preferred the federal government kept the GST at 6 per cent and used the funds to help municipalities. A strong majority (67 per cent) want to see the federal surplus used for spending on areas requiring additional funding.

In other words, it sounds like a push-poll; but it's interesting to note the high level of support for a proposal that, according to conventional wisdom, ought to be unthinkable: super-majority support for higher taxes.

After close to two decades of systematic under-funding for critical municipal infrastructure, Canadians have finally noticed that some things are worth spending money on.

The question is: has the federal government?

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Al Rathbone (anonymous) | Posted April 17, 2008 at 01:05:56

People just don't understand the division of the levels of government.

Of course people want more money for public infrastructure: It's IMPORTANT!

But It seems like everyone wants to pass the buck.

Cities say the Province should pay, the Province says the Feds should pay.

Why should taxes from across Canada pay for sewers in Dundas?

It makes sense on a Provincial level in order to level out between poor and rich municipalities but any larger than that it makes no sense.

So yes we need more infrastructure funding, but why can't the Province supply it and why does it mean higher taxes when there is plenty of waste that can be cut?

I'd also like to add that the Federal government is incompetent in distributing infrastructure funds which instead end up as pork barrel funding.

The ideal solution is for the Feds to transfer tax space to the Province (this way the province collects the revenue rather than the feds) and the Province to distribute infrastructure funds through per-capita grants.

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By Stavros (anonymous) | Posted April 17, 2008 at 16:18:53

Al,

I have noticed your great comments about light rail on Nicole's blog with the Spec.

We want you to be part of Hamilton Light Rail. We need active minds like yours to make this happen(www.hamiltonlightrail.com).

Contact me at:
stavros.rougas@gmail.com

Stavros

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