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February 26, 2007
Mayor David Miller launches campaign to fund cities
One Cent of the GST NOW!
Mayor David Miller today announced the launch of a campaign aimed at securing permanent funding for cities - one cent of the existing GST.
The Mayor was joined by several other mayors at today's announcement as part of the Toronto City Summit Alliance's Toronto Summit 2007: Making Big Things Happen. A new website was announced (www.onecentnow.ca), as well as a series of advertising initiatives and other tactics to engage residents to press the federal government to share the GST.
"This is a call to the federal government to help us build the kind of Toronto, the kind of cities and the kind of Canada that our residents deserve," the Mayor said.
The campaign specifically asks the federal government to return one cent of the existing GST as a reliable and permanent source of funding that grows as the economy grows. As Canada's cities are the economic engines of the country, an investment in cities is an investment in all of Canada.
In 2005, the Conference Board of Canada concluded that Toronto faces an annual $1.1 billion gap between infrastructure and operating expenses and available revenues. This means there is a significant backlog of infrastructure maintenance and investment in new projects that are needed to support the City.
"I am proposing a bargain between governments for the sake of the public good," the Mayor said. "Give back to Torontonians a small part, of the wealth they generate in their city and we will match that gesture with a greater, greener investment in Toronto's environmental, social and economic well-being."
The inadequate patch-work of existing federal and provincial programs has not addressed the problems experienced by cities across the country. It has led to the creation of a "cap-in-hand" Canada where municipalities are forever looking to the next stop gap measure on which to try and balance the books and still plan for the future.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.
Don Wanagas, Office of the Mayor, 416-338-7134
Brad Ross, Strategic Communications Division, 416-392-8937 or 416-919-6503 (cell)
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