Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Government Downloading

I came across a great report from the Statistics Canada website called, “From Roads to Rinks: Government Spending on Infrastructure in Canada, 1961 to 2005”. Over the next little while I wanted to highlight some of the interesting facts.

Click to Enlarge

The first fact is that over the last 45, provinces have downloaded responsibility to provide services and infrastructure without providing proper funding to local municipalities. We can see this with TransLink in Vancouver or the TTC in Toronto. The problems of downloading are very apparent. Both TransLink and the TTC, for example, have faced funding shortages ever since they were turned over to local control. Now I don’t have a problem with local control, in fact I support it, but higher orders of government have a responsibility to insure that there is proper funding in place when they download a service. The BC Community Charter that was passed a few years ago is meant to protect local governments from downloading without funding.

Up until the recent economic downturn, both the federal and provincial governments had record surpluses while local governments continued to raise taxes. Now there is only one taxpayer, but the burden is lighter when you have 4 million people paying for a project instead of 30,000.

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