CFIB report ‘insulting’ and ‘antagonistic,’ says MNL

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Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) has fired back at a new report that says Canadian municipalities are overspending and take in more tax revenue than they claim.

A report released Monday by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ claim that municipalities receive just eight cents of every tax dollar collected in Canada doesn’t take federal and provincial transfers into account, and that the actual figure is 15 cents of every tax dollar.

The report said municipalities have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

“It’s one thing to ask for more money if it’s needed and another to spend like it’s going out of style, and then cry poor,” reads the report.

Churence Rogers, president of MNL, issued a statement Tuesday calling the CFIB report “antagonistic” and “insulting.”

“With hundreds of towns understaffed, living with unsafe drinking water and unable to maintain roads, clearly overspending is not the problem. The problem is lack of revenue,” reads the statement. The statement adds that the business federation is “misguided” on municipal transfers. “Transfers from the province are largely project-driven and not predicable revenue. Property tax is the main source of municipal revenue, and as a regressive tax, it burdens lower-income homeowners and most-vulnerable members of society.”

Municipal operating grants have declined more than 50 per cent since the early 1990s, said the statement, and councils have had to make up the difference by increasing property taxes, cutting services or both.

 

telegram@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Geographic location: Canada

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  • brett
    February 26, 2014 - 17:35

    if hundreds means 200, if you take the avalon population out of the province's population you're looking at 250,000 with about 190 municipalities. or an average town size of 1300 people. Are all these towns really sustainable? Yes there is need for amalgamation between st. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise, etc... But the other question you have to ask is whether these other small towns really deserve the infrastructure dollars from the province, and what the cost of running the towns are compared to the tax dollars that they bring in. Take a 10 year history, look at whether the towns are growing or not and look at their population demographic. Are they places we want to invest in as a society?

    • david
      February 26, 2014 - 20:52

      Must be nice to believe St. John's is much more than the convenient cove for supply ships that it is.

    • brett
      February 28, 2014 - 12:27

      David, I agree, St. John's is a hub for resource exploitation. The whole province is. So as a society, what is the most cost effective and beneficial way to extract those resources. If you take away oil and government jobs you don't have a lot of industry here. Accounting & Law - facilitators of gov't bureaucracy, teaching, medicine, all of that is public sector work. What is exported from the province? You are right, St. John's is a convenient cove for supply ships. Why should we support the inconvenient coves?

    • david
      February 28, 2014 - 14:09

      Ummmm.....because given the very economic reality that you laid out, we don't know where that next cove is -- if there is one at all --- or the next resource tied to it. For now, it's offshore oil, and it's St. John's. To reduce a province's entire future solely on such an ephemeral state of affairs ---- especially considering St. John's ridiculously "unfortunate" physical location ---- is 'world class idiotic'......which probably explains why everyone here seems so chuffed up to get on with it. Let me put it this way: Scotland isn't just Aberdeen, not even on its worst day. Newfoundland is nothing BUT St. John's. On our very best.

  • ROK
    February 26, 2014 - 15:54

    No problem spending $120,000.00 a year on goofball travel by CB S council in the past. To quote the last mayor, "if you want to get the word out, you gotta' travel". From what I've seen so far the current council won't disappoint.

  • Jay
    February 26, 2014 - 11:48

    Churence, Sorry, but your wrong, and I think you know it. There are about 200 municipalities in this province of 500,000 people. We are governed to death. MNL has been talking about cooperation for years, but there are terribly few examples of this happening. This provincial government, and others before it, have known that amalgamation is necessary for years, but they also know it is political suicide because petty politicians at the local level want to maintain their little empires and keep getting their little per diems and meal allowances to do little or nothing. As far as cooperation, that's out of the question, remember the Regional Economic Development Boards? Remember what happened to Eric Gullage? If MNL were serious about the supposed lack of resources, they would force the amalgamation, strongly encourage municipalities to cooperate, and better share what resources are available.

  • JEROME DELANEY
    February 26, 2014 - 10:10

    WANT TO SEE , SPENDING LIKE IT IS GOING OUT OF STYLE, LOOK NO FURTHER THAN ST. JOHN'S , WHERE SPENDING HAS INCREASED 8-10% EVERY YEAR FOR THE LAST 10 YRS. AND NOW THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT RAISING TAXES NEXT YEAR. IN THE LAST 7 YRS WHAT I GIVE THE CITY HAS DOUBLED, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY.