A Progressive Conservative government at Queen’s Park would renew the downloading initiative of the Harris’ Tories to the detriment of property owners, charges Karl Walsh, Barrie Liberal candidate in the Ontario provincial election.
“Property taxes would skyrocket in Barrie under (PC Leader) Tim Hudak and Rod Jackson as they cut services and download onto municipalities,” said Walsh. “The Hudak PCs are hazardous for those of us who pay property taxes.”
The provincial Liberals pledged to upload $1.5 billion in costs from municipalities. About $1 billion has been uploaded, leaving $500,000 to go. In August Hudak told delegates at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference that a PC government would honour the billion already uploaded, but didn’t pledge to upload the remainder.
On its election website, AMO has platform analysis of party (Liberal, NDP, PC, Green) policies, a fiscal reality check, and other information.
AMO has developed a list of 12 questions for local candidates, including whether or not a candidate/government would commit to the full $1.5 billion uploading initiative, and promise not to begin any new downloads.
The downloading charge also stems from policies of the last PC government which downloaded a range of costs to municipalities, while uploading education largely off local tax rolls. The downloading followed on the heels of cuts to transfer to the provinces from the federal Liberal government of Jean Chretien during the deficit-busting wars of the mid-90s.
The McGuinty government has been uploading costs, including ambulance services. The Liberals also plan to upload the costs of providing court security, a move that would save Barrie about $3 million a year. It has been suggested that money could be used to offset costs of a new centralized centre for city police services.
The PC platform, the Liberals say, has a “$14 billion hole in it” which will necessitate not only downloading, but subsequent increases in property taxes.
Walsh’s campaign says a plan to download costs for dealing with hazardous waste disposal indicates Tory intentions.
“The City of Ottawa said (the) PCs are going to cause a property tax hike of six per cent, or $186 per household. It will be the same or worse here in Barrie.”
• Related links:
Liberal platform – Walsh’s Facebook page
PC platform – Jackson’s Facebook site
Green platform and Local candidate, Andrew Miller – Miller’s Facebook page
NDP platform and local candidate Myrna Clark – Clark’s Facebook page