Business View Magazine | March 2018

98 99 ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPALITIES OF ONTARIO O ntario’smunicipalities own about 60 per- cent of public infrastructure,ranging from roads and bridges to communitycenters and arenas.Theyalso provide awide range of critical services,like clean drinkingwater and emer- gency services.Ontario is also one of the fewprovinces wheremunicipal governments are responsible for publichousing. For all theydo,Ontario’smunicipal governments col- lect only9 percent of all householdtaxdollars–asmall amount to fundsomanyday-to-dayservices thatpeople dependon.AccordingtotheAssociationofMunicipalities ONTARIOMUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS LOOKING FOR BROADER APPROACHES TO FUND LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE ofOntario (AMO),it is time for that tochange. AMO,which represents nearlyall of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments,has conducted twoyears of in- depth analysis and consultationwith itsmembership to understandmunicipal financial challenges over the long-term.It estimates that municipal governments will face a shortfall of $4.9 billion dollars everyyear,for the next 10 years,just tomaintain current services and address the infrastructure gap–replacing,repairing, and extending capital assets.Without anychanges, property taxesmight have to double over the next decade tomeet these needs. To bridge this gap,AMO is calling for a 1 percent sales tax,devoted solely to local infrastructure services such as roads,bridges,and transit. Ontarians currentlypay13percent inHarmonized SalesTax,with 8 percent going to the province,and the federal government collecting 5 percent. Dubbed “the Local Share,”AMOestimates that an additional 1 percent would raise $2.5 billion for municipal infra- ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPALITIES OF ONTARIO