Municipal leaders call for one percent of HST hike

OTTAWA—The Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) annual conference kicked off in Ottawa Monday with president Lynn Dollin calling for a one percent sales tax devoted solely to local infrastructure services such as roads, bridges and transit.

Municipal governments are working around the clock to provide critical services, like good roads, clean drinking water and safe communities, but growing needs and costs are putting too much pressure on property taxes, AMO pointed out. AMO estimates that municipal governments face an annual shortfall of about $4.9 billion dollars for the next 10 years to maintain current services and address the infrastructure gap.

“We have done our homework, and it’s clear that property taxes can’t keep up with growing local needs,” said Ms. Dollin. “Municipalities have been funded the same way for decades. Obviously, times have changed and if we want to build communities for the future, municipal governments need a greater local share of tax dollars.”

The AMO conference is Ontario’s top educational forum for municipal governments, attracting more than 1,900 participants and injecting almost $3 million into the local Ottawa economy. AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments.