Statement by FCM President Steeves on today's economic statement by Finance Minister Flaherty



    OTTAWA, Oct. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The following statement was released today
by the President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Winnipeg
Councillor Gord Steeves, following Minister Flaherty's economic statement.
    "The federal government obviously has room to cut taxes and invest in our
cities and communities. Even after all the debt payments and tax cuts
announced today, the government will still have $26 billion more than it needs
over the next five years.
    If the Government really wants to provide Canadians with tax relief, it
should start by sharing the equivalent of one cent of the GST with cities and
communities and making the gas-tax transfer permanent.
    By providing cities and communities with more resources to meet growing
needs, this would take the pressure off the property tax-the most regressive
tax we have. This would also help our cities and communities compete with the
best in the world, providing a sound basis for Canada's future prosperity.
    This year's $13.8-billion federal surplus showed the government has been
collecting more tax than it needed. The cost of not renewing our municipal
infrastructure -pushed off the balance sheet where we can't see it-is a
massive municipal infrastructure deficit pegged at between $60 and $100
billion.
    The government has so far failed to tackle this deficit, one of the most
critical issues facing Canada's cities and communities, with a long-term plan
and commitment. The government's Budget 2007 infrastructure investment of
approximately $18 billion over seven years is important, but it pales when
compared with the massive and growing municipal infrastructure deficit.
    Today's actions by the government leave this deficit untouched and
continuing to grow, and the longer we fail to tackle it, the greater the cost
when we finally do.
    Declaring victory and walking away from the battleground will not fix our
cities. We need a plan, and we need long-term commitment."




For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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