Province has to pay its fair share

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In the budget put forward by the provincial government, the municipal operating grants will no longer be paid to the larger municipalities.

This is not only unfair but completely wrong.

The $3.5 million paid to the City of St. John’s covered services provided to government office buildings, schools, hospitals, Memorial University, the College of the North Atlantic and liquor stores.

Now, these services such as water and sewer, snowclearing and street lights will be paid by the municipal taxpayer and the provincial government pays nothing.

This is difficult to understand, as I heard the premier last week state that 20 per cent of the population pay 80 per cent of taxes while 80 per cent pay only 20 per cent, and this inequity may be addressed.

Also, some months ago, I heard the previous minister of finance say that perhaps the City of St. John’s should lend the province money because the city was in a surplus position. This comment was unacceptable.

On a go-forward basis, the province will not pay its share of municipal services and yet will collect from the city and other municipalities both payroll taxes and HST.

For St. John’s alone, the payroll tax is in excess of $1.5 million and HST payments amount to over

$8 million per year.

There is also a fuel tax charged to public transit in St. John’s and Corner Brook, and for St. John’s, this is approximately $450,000 per year.

I realize that the province does, in fact, participate with the city for multi-year capital works projects. Also, the minister of municipal affairs announced $25 million to be shared among the larger municipalities.

However, I believe that because of these cuts, it is only reasonable to conclude that some projects in the city must now be deferred.

The federal government pays property taxes on their buildings, rebates to the city their five per cent share of the HST and, five years ago, committed almost $30 million to Metrobus which was used to build the new depot on Kelsey Drive.

The present minister of finance states we will return to surplus in 2015.

I believe we should have a commitment now that, in two years’ time, the province will reinstate the municipal operating grants. Also, the government should immediately return to all municipalities the provincial share of the HST,  exempt municipalities from the payroll tax and remove the fuel tax on the bus service in St John’s and Corner Brook.

The province should pay for services provided by municipalities.


Art Puddister

St. John’s

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • ed power
    April 24, 2013 - 17:06

    In the first place, Turry, I am not the one crying for toll booths to protect me from the "outsiders", that would be you. I am just pointing out that toll booths can work both ways. Second, I pay my own way through the taxes I pay to the various levels of government on my income, and on the many goods and services that I purchase each and every day. That is the price we pay to live in a democracy. Finally, I have lived in one country where people require a pass to travel outside their town or village - a country now in the third year of a bloody civil war - and have visited a number of others where Pass Controls are enforced by Internal Police Services and, believe you me, you would not want to live there. Finally, I spent 25 years serving my country at home and abroad, and have little time for people who want to impose the same type of restrictions on their fellow citizens that people elsewhere dying - at this moment - to free themselves from. Be thankful that this is all you have to complain about, and that no one will be breaking your door down at midnight because you did complain about it.

  • Turry from town
    April 23, 2013 - 14:37

    Well Eddy,the last time i looked all the traffic was coming into town in the morning and going out in the evenings.Sure,some townies go outside for work,but the vast majority come in here for work.Go ahead,put up your toll gates and get your own people coming back from town.I don't mind contributing to pay for something I use on a daily basis to get me to and from work,unlike you baymen who want everything paid for by someone else.

  • Ed Power
    April 22, 2013 - 19:04

    Well, Turry and Toll Booth, you should remember that toll booths can work both ways. Perhaps we in the Great Outside might have to institute some form of pass system for Townies heading out to work in Mount Pearl, Paradise and points west. We could call it the Long Harbour Levy...yes, that would work. We could apply it as well for people heading out to their cabins, fishing holes and hunting areas. We could call that one the Boil Up Levy - to help save wear and tear on our forests, lakes and wildlife, don't you know - and we could double our pleasure by adding that to the Long Harbour Levy, like the Federal and Provincial governments do with various taxes. Naturally, these fees would be waived if Townies were to immigrate to the Great Outside, it would save us having to erect fences to keep you out when the Boys in the Gower Street Bunker decide to raise your mill rate again. Yes, I think that just might work....

    • crash the overpass
      April 24, 2013 - 13:19

      Well said Ed! The corner boys are always whining about something or other. I think it is all related to living in a second rate city when compared to Halifax. Actually, considering sin jawns a city is laughable.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 22, 2013 - 17:17

    I'm with Toll Booth. The leeching has to stop.

  • Turry from town
    April 22, 2013 - 14:46

    Well said TOLL BOOTH!This brownbagger Duffy has no idea what he is talking about.The residents of St.John's are shouldering the expense for the whole Avalon and letting the provincial government off the hook.All these buildings are full of people from outside who are employed here and commute to work everyday and pay nothing for the infastructure they use on a daily basis.Millions in spinoff dollars you say Duffy! Get a life,you people only spend in town what you can'y buy in your own town, like a suit .Buying coffee does't count.And if we could move a gov building and reverse the flow of traffic,your little town would be faced with the same thing St.John's is now,thousands of people coming here everyday and you having to pay for the infastructure for them to use without any contribution.I'll say it again,residents of St.John's are paying for the whole region without any government help and they are now saying we have to go it alone.If that is the case then I should not have to pay any provincial taxes.Wait a minute,if that were the case,then who would pay for the provincial highways that run through your towns and get you back and forth to work in St.John's? You see DUFFY,I'm paying double for freeloaders like you,and it's going to end along with this Blunderdale government come the next election.

  • Harold
    April 21, 2013 - 09:59

    i agree with Duffy. and to the drivers in and around st. john's. people when you're heading East, you can only drive so far, it's a dead end. slow down, calm down and chill out.

  • toll booth
    April 20, 2013 - 12:25

    @Duffy: Concerned about spin offs? What spin offs? People from outside St. John's coming in to work each day to beat up our roads and not helping to pay for repairs? Confederation Building and Univeristy flushing thier toilets all day while the rest of the cuty have to ration water? The MUN Student bar in direct competition to other tax paying businesses in the city? These provincial offices filling up our garbage dumps while St. John's tax payers pick up the bill?

    • crash the overpass
      April 24, 2013 - 13:14

      I think we should encourage government to move to locations outside of the capital city and then build a wall around sin jawns. Any townie that ventures outside the wall would be arrested and kept locked up until they agree to pay a fee.

  • John
    April 20, 2013 - 11:47

    Interesting to note is not the author the Mr. puddister who was a council member When all of the bungled contracts such as Bay Bulls Big Pond were signed? Yes the NL govt should pay their fair share but first St Johns should have their priorities Scrutinized .

  • Gas Man Can
    April 20, 2013 - 10:05

    Don't forget the gas tax either. In theory, gas tax is supposed to pay for the upkeep of the roads. With the bulk of the provinces population living in the St. John's area, the bulk of the road work money should go to St. John's. However, it does not and the roads around town are horrible.

  • Duffy
    April 20, 2013 - 09:06

    The employment from government jobs and MUN jobs, the off-shoots to restaurants, malls and other businesses gives St. John's millions & millions of dollars in revenue. If you do not want non-property paying properties there is an easy answer - ask the goverment centers to relocate to other municipalities as they would love to have them. So Art, stop winning and if the residents want new stadiums and other luxuries than pay for it via tax rates like every other town. With that attitude the "overpass" attitude will never cease. We owe St. John's nothing more than they owe us.