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Mayor against hiking HST

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A movement among some Ontario municipalities to get the HST raised by one percent doesn’t sit well with Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario research shows an infrastructure deficit of $3.6 billion annually over 10 years, above and beyond existing federal and provincial funding agreements, Mayor Avis said during Monday night’s council meeting.

As such, AMO is petitioning the province to raise the HST—with the extra tax revenue to help meet the infrastructure funding requirements of municipalities over the next 10 years.

“The shortfall they’re projecting is $3.6 billion a year, so the easiest way for them to raise it, rather than go to municipal taxes, they think, is to raise the HST one percent that would go to the municipalities,” the mayor noted.

Mayor Avis added while Fort Frances council hasn’t taken a position on the issue officially, “there is no way I would support it.”

Coun. Ken Perry, who also attended a recent AMO meeting in Dryden where the issue was discussed, agreed.

“The one percent HST still won’t get us $3.6 billion,” he argued.

“It will get us to about $2.7 billion so we’re still short about $900,000.

“Their other way of doing business was going to be to raise the income tax by 10 percent for everyone in Ontario and pass some of that on to municipalities, as well, and I’m also opposed to that,” Coun. Perry added.

“Everybody doesn’t pay income tax, everybody doesn’t pay HST—businesses don’t pay HST, business get a break on their corporate taxes,” he noted.

“So who pays the bills? The residents that are paying the bills now.”

Mayor Avis noted if the issue moves forward, he will poll councillors on what they think of it and draft a letter stating council’s stance.

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