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Strings attached to infrastructure funds

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Cities warn their hands will be tied unless rules ease impact of ‘use-it-or-lose-it threat' on municipal budgets ...Read the full article

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  1. Plus 8 from Mont Tremblant, Canada writes:
    I don't get it.

    Am I correct in understanding that much of this stimulus is contingent on cash-strapped provinces, stressed municipalities and thread bare universities magically coming up with matching funding? And if they don't match it, it isn't really there?

    Most provinces will have to put their citizens in hawk to come up with their share. So we pay twice. Once federally and again provincially.

    For the municipalities, it's worse. They will have to hike our property taxes up in an already depressed housing market to come up with their share. Count that effect as three, between 1. the federal debt going up, 2. your home's taxes rising and 3. the increased carrying costs on your house forcing its price down.

    Where are universities going to come up with their matching firing professors as a cost saving? Selling off parts of the campus?

    It is eye-opening to see all the Ontario that's where all the auto industry money is going. I am happy for Ontario as there is no strings on that money. But I suspect there is a connection between the concentrated stimulus for that one province and the new seats finally granted it a few weeks ago. Harper has decided that Ontario is his ticket to a majority.

    GOD HELP YOU ONTARIO, YOU ARE BEING WOOED ;- ) (at a cost to the rest of us). Not your fault though. I guess he feels the Maritimes are not important enough, there is nothing much left out west and his previous new love, Quebec, showed it didn't trust him last October.

    If we take out the smoke-and-mirrors-ante-up money and the auto stuff..what's left?

  2. Mr. Yellin from Ontario hinterland, Canada writes: I get it. By asking the provinces and cities to pony up, they won't get away with saying how the Feds put you in deficit but we provincial premiers were prudent (because someone else paid the freight), while the cities will say, we didn't raise property taxes but were able to cut ribbons on new projects. It is all politics. There is a certain justice though when the lower orders of government are always asking the higher level to take on more so that they can coast without being accountable to their local or provincial constituents. It's all the same pair of pants, different pockets though, eh?
  3. Vern McPherson from Canada writes:
    This won't work.

    There is a significant problem here ........

    Cities and towns just do not have money for this without raising property taxes and this will not work this way.
  4. Troubled Youth from Everywhere, Canada writes: Cities and towns are not the primary issuers of the money. It will be from the Fed to the Province and each province is responsible for their cities or towns as to what they receive.

    The strings are on there because this is new infrastructure spending not the old/last monies budgeted for infrastructure, which has not been spent yet according to the provincial infrastructure ministers. The provinces will lose this new infrastructure monies if they do not have new plans in the works in two years.

    That is plenty of time so the hysteria is unwarranted.

    There is no need for any municipality to jack up their taxation because they will be receiving money to accomplish what ever projects the province has/is willing to accomplish.
  5. Paul Lawrence from Oakville, Canada writes: I'm pretty confident to see that this will change the programs that allow municipalities to receive 1/3 from the government to now receive 1/2 the money from the government.

    That's roughly 17 dollars for every 100 dollars spent that's being dolled out to municipalities.

    I don't see municipalities spending any more next year because they're still cash strapped.

    This is pretty much shooting a barn 50 feet away with a shot gun, its going to hit the whole barn, and do very little damage compared to being 10 feet away and aiming at any particular spot.
  6. Misery No one from Toronto, Canada writes: We just got whacked with huge assessments increases on our homes. And now this.
    Do they have no morals?
    This Government is floundering and needs to go. Iceland went do we want to follow.? Time to dump them the time is NOW.

    Canada is ready for a coalition government. Is must be NOW.
  7. Troubled Youth from Everywhere, Canada writes: Paul Lawrence, the idea with the 12 and 9 plus the budget offers municipalities a $2-billion fund for low-interest loans is so that all levels of government can get shovels in the ground soonest.

    Also there was a provincial infrastructure ministers meeting with the government to reduce some of the hoops as well as get the Fed and provincial policies speaking the same language.
  8. Paul Lawrence from Oakville, Canada writes:
    Troubled Youth, After re-reading apart of it... the feds are still going to supply 1/2 the money, plus tell the province to create a deficit, in such cases Alberta, or to go deeper into the red for the other half.

    That 2 billion will probably go very quickly. They've already denied any money going to the 2010 Winter games village.

    Municipalities might get off the hook for some of the projects, but they still won't have a whole lot left over for other practical uses.
  9. Ob Server from Canada writes: The province of Ontario has already said it will create larger deficits to come up with it's share. All this spending worldwide begs a question though....with rates so low who's going to buy all those bonds?
  10. Kevin Desmoulin from TO, Canada writes: We have a Federal government that refuses to take the lead and lets others in society to try to fix it's problems. Still working against Canadians. All these rules and conditions, details to be worked out, I thought these details were supposed to done already and they expected the Libs and the rest of Canada to support this, This is not budget for these times in Canada, it is just a budget to save their butts and keep them in power.
  11. P Logan from Calgary, Canada writes: It's quite simple really. The Harperites will take the big program announcement now (as they did with the $33 billion program a couple of years ago), and remind us endlessly of it during the next election, knowing that the lazy media will never bother keeping abreast of the story to realize that little of the money has ever been spent.
  12. No Coalition from Canada writes: It would seem to me that Municipalities should be re-assessing their priorities, and juggling budgets to get their hands on more of this money. The loan mechanism out of that fund would help get that moving....

    Where is the problem? Well if you listen to David Miller, who has a hard time setting capital budget priorities, he'd tell you he just wants the handout without any strings attached...but herein lays the problem...

    These rules regarding shared cost have been followed as far back as I can remmeber...and are intended to insure that the money is being spent on what is intended....rather than Miller for example, forgoing the stimulus benefits of infrastructure to go buy a Theatre or a Lake in a district outside of his municipal territory...or to fund a trip to Japan to hob nob with dignitaries while a massive propane explosion halts the city for a number of days.

    I am shocked, actually, that we don't here Miller's whining in this article...however, he was all over the TO airwaves last night with his BS>
  13. No Coalition from Canada writes: Kevin Desmoulin from TO, Canada writes: We have a Federal government that refuses to take the lead and lets others in society to try to fix it's problems.

    Kevin, the Federal Government put up money...all the Cities have to do is get to work... I'm tired of that TO attitude that everyhting should be handed to you on a platter.

    Miller grew a $3B dollar debt for the city in the good times, and was raising taxes like a communist....clearly he is going to have to change approach.

    I get the impression the Millerites, in their own lives would forgo food to buy a painting and a ticket to the opera. You need to march down to city hall and start voicing your concern for the way they do business.
  14. MR. oz from Canada writes: Strings attached to the handouts of federal and provincial money to the cities? this is good news! I do not trust our mayor not to use the money for his pet projects instead of what this money is intended for! These hand outs to the Cities are coming out of the same pockets of the taxpayers as some wasteful municipalities with their often unwanted and/or unneeded mega projects are burdening their Citizens for!
  15. David any from Loon-A-Tick, Canada writes: This budget is simply "The Big Print Giveth and the Small Print Taketh Away!"
    The Cons get to say they gave 20 billion to infrastucture but the province and municipalities won't have the money to match so the money won't get spent....or without raising Provincial and property taxes which = no positive gain in economy. Tax increases will eat up the break the Cons gave in Fed taxes. I guess lots of people will be hired to push all the paper in this labyrinth of deceit.
    Anyhow I think for the good of the stability of the country....that Iggy it is leaked.... that he will accept the budget.
    This is the way to go forward and lets face will be on the backs of the Americans will come our recovery.
  16. Mooney Pilot from Smartville, Canada writes: Tory thinking...go up to a homeless man and say to him..

    "Got troubles/?Never fear! I'll match you dollar for dollar to get you a home...up to a million bucks! Think of it! You come up eith the first million & you can have a 2 M dollar home!"
  17. P Martin from St. John's, Canada writes: Useless budget that is going to do nothing. And the way that Harper is lying to convince people that this is new spending is pathetic. Much of this is not new spending, many of the budget items have already been implemented. This budget is a farce that will do nothing for Canada.
  18. David any from Loon-A-Tick, Canada writes: Mooney Pilot....exactly. Great Point...couldn't say it better....but I tried.
  19. a l from Toronto, Canada writes: It's Harper, so naturally there are strings attached. The question is whether cities will actually see any of this money. Don't hold your breath.
  20. Anne Peterson from Canada writes: This man cannot be trusted. He will play whatever tricks he can to weasel out of spending money on Canadians who need it. The poor and unemployed are unimportant to him. He has brought out this budget because he has to in order to keep in power, which is all that is important to him. I have paid into EI for years and never drawn. I am now retired. I expected the fund to be there for others when times got tough but the federal government has kept a huge portion of the money for itself. And the rules for qualifying in the circumstances are ridiculous. I know right wingers are concerned with money, power and their won privilege, so expect some tricks.
  21. Ob Server from Canada writes: I like the budget and I like that social democrats like Miller and his elves have a leash tethered to their collars before they go out and blow theirs and our brains out....again.

    In Toronto, there are already way too many snouts at the trough relative to the declining tax base due to the unhinged municipal policies of a misguided administration.

    Hopefully, this will change but I'm not convinced residents here have had enough...yet.
  22. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Leaving Miller with a no strings attached sum of money is like leaving the fox with the henhouse. I can see the unions now, circling like buzzards.

    And to the rocket scientist above who gave the comparison to a homeless person being promised dollar for dollar funding to buy a home; I actually think thats the way it should be. NOTHING should be for FREE. If you want a handout, then you yourself should expect to work more for it. I came to this country with one luggage in my hand 9 years. On one income I bought my home 6 years after that. Did I ever expect a free handout? NEVER!
  23. Dwayne Allan from Canada writes: Mooney Pilot, you hit the nail on the head.
  24. Logo Pogo from United States writes: I'd be happy if the $5 billion the federal government collects a year from the federal fuel excise tax actually went back into infrastructure, like it was intended to be. There should be no "strings attached" on that money but the provinces only see a few million a year from that infrastructure usage tax.

    This is money that the driving public is owed.
  25. Joe V from Canada writes: Hockey rinks are not infrastructure. They have little to no return on investment for the average tax payer.
  26. Still Learning at 78 from Canada writes: Darren in TO from Toronto-----Perhaps you should spend a little time in your example (Homeless man), why their are homeless men. Maybe some are not as smart as they should be so we ignore them and kick them in the butt.

    Galbraith's definition of a Conservative" Someone who tries to find moral justification for his own selfishness".
  27. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Still Learning at 78,
    I don't give a damn actually. I see able bodied deadbeats every day lying around on downtown streets here in Toronto. I don't know about you, but they seem pretty able bodied to me. And they seem pretty smart to me, especially those 3 American panhandlers who were evicted before but found their way back here from sunny California in 2007 and stabbed Ross Hammond to death after he refused to give them any change. The 4 stabber was the lone Canadian. Mind you, she did get house arrest in her family's luxury home in St. Catherines. Pretty smart indeed, as she would rather harass perfect strangers instead of lowering herself to the point of asking her family for help and thus admitting she fouled up in her elongated youthful rebellion
  28. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Logo Pogo , what do you care? You dont even live here.

    And my taxes go towards highways and raods, yet I dont own a car. So your point is what exactly?
  29. AFS @Calgary from Canada writes: If the cities feel that there is too much red tape between the various levels of government, they need to start holding the MLA's and MP's responsible. People out here sometimes complain about our Mayor Bronco, but he kicked up enough of a fuss to throw a byelection to a liberal. (Poor guy lost his seat in the last election) And as I recall, a whole bunch of money started comin' down the pipe. ANY Politician loves to see their picture in the paper cutting a ribbon on a new project. So, go after them and scream if you have to. Don't be shy. Remember, they are supposed to represent us.
  30. Troubled Youth from Everywhere, Canada writes: Paul Lawrence , yes the consensus is that the TWO BILLION to the municipalities as loan will go fast. It's for loans not a bailout. Two billion at the municipal level is good work to cover the 1/3 they have to come up with, and only a small piece of the overall impetus spending for infrastructure at that level but still six billion in total for municipal plans. There is still the 6.2 billion for rapid transit from the last budget untouched. Not to re- mention much of last budgets 33 billion for infrastructure still untouched.
  31. Ob Server from Canada writes: Most of the negative comments about the budget are due to the 'culture of entitlement' which is part of the Canadian landscape but tends to grow in tough economic times.
    Canada will NOT give anyone a have to do that by yourself. Canada facilitates the process. If 50 weeks EI and paid re-training aren't enough then there's always the option to move to a better place.
    I like the budget and I like the safeguards especially against unfettered and unaccountable spending like Miller here is wont to do....
  32. Kim Morton from Canada writes: And the winner is.... The Bureaucrats in charge of not handing out the cash. Expect most of the money to be used up in administration, useless studies and endless consultations. Oh well at least these few will avoid the welfare lines.
  33. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Kim Morton from Canada writes: And the winner is.... The Bureaucrats in charge of not handing out the cash. Expect most of the money to be used up in administration, useless studies and endless consultations. Oh well at least these few will avoid the welfare lines.

    Actually Flaherty's proposal will cut down on the dual studies held by both the province and the feds. Now there will only one study before a project would be put through. As per the minister's interview with the CP24 this morning, this should cut around 90% of the study time.
  34. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Ob Server, spot on!
  35. Logo Pogo from United States writes: "Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Logo Pogo , what do you care? You dont even live here.

    And my taxes go towards highways and raods, yet I dont own a car. So your point is what exactly? "

    My point is that Canadian drivers already double pay for infrastructure through the fuel tax(which is meant for infrastructure but gets misappropriated). Also, the federal government makes mutliple times more money through federal excise fuel tax then the savings of you not utilizing public roads(which is a fallacy even if you never left dwelling). If it wasn't for drivers the government could have never run a federal surplus for the past ten years.

    It's funny now that strings are attached to money that was always meant for infractructure.
  36. Still Learning at 78 from Canada writes: Darren in TO from Toronto
    You seem to be a very angry man, but thats what I expect from some people. My problem is I do not know whether to feel a little anger or a lot of sympathy for you.
  37. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Still Learning at 78 from Canada, Im not an agry person generally. But non-evolving and non-selfimproving moochers do make me angry. And their supporters like you also make me angry. If you want to cut a cheque out and give it to every homeless person you see, then be my guest. But please do it from your own hard earned cash, and not mine.

    I didnt work summer jobs since I was 15, put myself through school, and travel half way around the world to make a career for myself in Canada, so some homeless guy wants a handout without conditions.

    Remember that old saying "You can give a man a fish and feed him once, or you can teach him to fish and he'll be fed for life"
  38. Joseph Bloggins from Canada writes: How about the cities stop their constant bitching and whining and get down to running the cities efficiently rather than sticking their bloody noses into everybody's business?

    And keep in mind.....EVERY CENT of this money comes out of the taxpayers pocket. I am sick to death of civic governments clambering for money from other levels of government as though it is somehow free. It is nothing more than hidden taxation. Time to hold the cities feet to the fire. Time to grow up and manage properly.
  39. Joseph Bloggins from Canada writes: Still Learning at 78 from Canada says "Galbraith's definition of a Conservative" Someone who tries to find moral justification for his own selfishness"."

    And the definition of a Liberal/Socialist is "someone who puts YOUR money where THEIR mouth is."

    You sure haven't learned much in your 78 years. I have an 18 year old son who is more atuned to reality than you are.
  40. Logo Pogo from United States writes: For those that don't remember, the federal fuel excise tax was sold as a way to pay for infrastructure in Canada. The federal government misappropriates this money(over 5 billion a year) and downloads infrastructure costs to provinces and municipalities.
  41. Still Learning at 78 from Canada writes: God I wish I had your ability to ignore the human condition beyond my self. My idea that we are not all created with the same abilities will have to change. Some peoples time is worth $30,000 a hour and the moochers can starve. I agree with that, Right.
  42. David any from Loon-A-Tick, Canada writes: Well nice smoke screen Darren. You have changed the subject so I'll join in. Years ago they kicked people out of psychiatric hospitals because the taxpayer didn't want to support them anymore. Now many of those on the street have simply found a way to survive because they cannot hold a job. They belong in some sort of goverment supportive situation not freezing on the street. Are there some panhandlers who abuse the situation for profit. Absolutely! Do some do it because their parents will no longer support their drug habit...Absolutely!
    There are plenty of solutions to homelessness and panhandling. None of which you would choose to support. So look at those people on the street and feel superior to them. You made em' buddie. Watch them freeze and suffer in public.Your reward will be in heaven.
  43. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: David any from Loon-A-Tick, hey did I mention ever in any post that existing services to the homless should be cut? Did I ever say that I am against the new money being given to cities?

    All I ever said is that there are homeless or unemployed who have the capability to also help themselves, and that this should be a requirement for them to receive these funds.
  44. N J S from Canada writes: The "hurry up" and "screw red tape" attitudes result in less environmental surveys on infrastructure projects. Once again, the Cons snubbing mother nature.
  45. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: N J S from Canada writes: The "hurry up" and "screw red tape" attitudes result in less environmental surveys on infrastructure projects. Once again, the Cons snubbing mother nature.

    Thats just a lie and you know it. Both the provincial LIberals here in Ontario and the Federal Conservatives have openly said in the past that they would like to reduce the overlap in environmental studies (I dont know where you got surveys from).
  46. Westcoast Dino from Canada writes: My concern is how much of this money is going to go sideways into scammers pockets ........... each and every bit of cash doled out to a project should be accounted for ......... the civil service should have a deputy minister or two dedicated to posting each and every approved project to the web so all Canadians can see where the money is going ........ all projects should have paper work attached with costing and funding and reported when the project is actually completed. Make it transparent and fraud proof, and hopefully we will feel like we've got our monies' worth.
  47. John McMortimer-Boyles from An undisclosed underground location safe from nuclean attack, Canada writes: Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: "Still Learning at 78,
    I don't give a damn actually. I see able bodied deadbeats every day lying around on downtown streets here in Toronto. I don't know about you, but they seem pretty able bodied to me."


    The Edmonton Sun ran a story yesterday on panhandlers in Edmonton, and some of them make some pretty decent coin. One of the panhandlers interviewed makes $400 a day (that's a six figure income, by the way, if you work five days a week for 52 weeks a year) and has a highrise apartment. Another claims he makes $500 a day.
  48. Chris Hay from Regina, SK, Canada writes: The infrastructure program is a nice attempt at subterfuge. Money available only if Municipalities cough up their share too. Because of the downloading of services (and costs associated with them) from federal to provincial to municipal governments, many towns do not have the money or funds available to start such infrastructure repairs or projects. With such a short lead time to organize these projects, obtain approval and deal with all the various gov't red tape I wonder just how much of this infrastructure funding will be spent? Can anyone say "son of Stimulus package ll"? coming soon, this Spring...
  49. Canadians Write from COAST TO COASTC, Canada writes: we posted this morning but since then our question to the fellow in Oakville has disappeared ??? also the point of competition between Urban Cities like Burlington $ 160 Million for a Sewage treatment plant as reported in the Hamilton Spectator & Oakville requests hasn't been clarified & the Ont rec & Parks Chief said that we might not know this arena info for another month today ...
  50. billy weathers from toronto, Canada writes: said it over and over again no money will flow from the neo cons
    again no money will flow harper and his team are karl rove media savvy they got the canadian media actually thinking that what they promise they will do the media buys it because like in george bushs regime they do not question why there is so much manure being spread around- follks this harper regime is very very sophisciated
    they use buzz words like coalition is against the law
    the opposition is anti canadian if they dont do this our way meanwhile the years go by and nothing is done but tax cuts to corporations
    years go by nothing is done to help the cities
    years and nothing is done for health care
    this bunch in power is very very sharp at holding on to power
    they are always campaigning
    always using the media to sell their propaganda
    but iggy is smart he did not i repeat get suckered in to harpers game he countermeasured
    harper better watch mr iggy
    if he wants to play partisan politics
    iggs game
  51. Darren in TO from Toronto, Canada writes: Great news about the DRL

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