News Local

Tax increase alternatives to be examined

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

Lou Rinaldi

Lou Rinaldi

While the provincial government is not supporting adding an increase to the HST, taking it from 13 to 14% on goods and services to be dedicated to municipalities and their infrastructure needs, Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi says Premier Kathleen Wynne has said other options will be examined.

“We are committed to review other options that help municipalities and that might include further uploads such as roads,” Rinaldi stated in an e-mail.

Last month, Northumberland County councillors supported the 1% “local solution” AMO proposal that would have generated more revenue to pay for county and municipal services and infrastructure.

Information provided at that time indicated it would generate $6.3-million for the county, plus over $2 million each for Cobourg and Port Hope, respectively, with lesser amounts for smaller municipalities in Northumberland.

“The resolution was sent to the MPPs office following council,” County spokesperson Kate Campbell stated in an e-mail.

But when asked what his personal feeling was on the increased tax rate with dedicated revenue for local governments, Rinaldi stated: “I haven’t had any feedback from my constituents or local municipalities asking for or supporting a dedicated 1% tax.”

Rinaldi also stated that there is now a far better relationship between Ontario’s provincial government and municipalities than prior to 2003.

“Over the last 14 years, we have fostered a longstanding spirit of respect and cooperation with our municipal partners that didn’t exist before (that’s partly why I became an MPP in the first place),” Rinaldi stated, adding that there is a schedule of “planned uploads” from the municipal to provincial level next year due to an arrangement already in place with AMO.

During last week’s AMO conference in Ottawa when Premier Wynne failed to support the 1% solution, AMO president Lynn Dollin said in a published report that “municipalities cannot possibly make ends meet on property taxes alone.”