Manitoba’s cities and towns are trying a new way to say something they’ve been trying to for years: give us our fair share.
The Association of Manitoba Muncipalities has launched a campaign called “Fair Share. Fair Say.”
It aims to lobby the provincial parties for more infrastructure money, heading into the upcoming provincial election.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman is lending his voice to his counterparts from smaller communities all around Manitoba.
“We need to hear from each of the leaders, specifically, what their proposals are,” he says. “We’ve put forward a number of options.”
Those options include a PST rebate for municipalities, similar to the GST rebate given by the federal government.
The AMM is also looking for a full 1 per cent share of the PST to spend on infrastructure.
Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen says would likely stop short of actually endorsing a specific party.
“What we are here for is to simply ask Manitobans to talk to their candidates. We want to hear from them, what they have to say.”
Other suggestions include:
– Identification of “grow as we grow” sources of revenue.
– Ensuring the province actually spends all of the infrastructure money it bugets for a given year.
– Reverting the costs of health facilities back to the province, reducing the municipal requirement to a fixed 5 per cent from the current 10 per cent.
Provincial Parties Weigh In
So far, Liberal leader Rana Bokhari has proven by far the most willing to give municipalities what they want.
She has promised them the dedicated one per cent of the PST they are asking for.
“We’ve already committed to that one per cent,” says Bokhari. “It’s partnership, it’s truly believing that Manitobans are Manitobans, no matter where they are and those municipalities need to be able to make decisions for themselves.”
NDP Minister of Municipal Government Drew Caldwell is stopping short of that commitment.
He says the government already gives municipalities more than in any other province.
“Manitoba has got the most generous infrastructure funding in Canada,” he says. “I understand municipalities always want to do more …it’s difficult to be better than the best in Canada.”
The Progressive Conservatives have not yet responded to our request for comment.