Huntsville on board with a one per cent HST hike
A one per cent HST hike could solve Huntsville’s infrastructure problems. That’s the pitch from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, which is asking municipalities across the province to support its proposal to move the HST from 13 per cent to 14.
AMO Senior Advisor, Matthew Wilson, was at Huntsville’s committee meeting this week, saying if the Ontario government gets on board and boosts the HST, it would bring in $2.5 billion every year, which would be split up between 444 municipalities. AMO has a formula worked out to determine how much money each municipality would receive from that extra cash. Huntsville would get just over $2 million annually, Bracebridge would get $1.8 million and Gravenhurst would be at $1.7 million.
Wilson says that funding would go into paying for infrastructure costs while still being able to afford to pay for existing services. That includes roads, bridges and transit as well as reducing the pressure on property tax bills and diversify how local communities are funded. Wilson says in order to pay for infrastructure upgrades, Ontario municipalities will need an extra $4.9 billion over the next 10 years, which is on top of inflation on property taxes and assumes all federal and provincial commitments are fulfilled. In Huntsville, $62 million is needed over the next 10 years for infrastructure work.
Wilson says AMO has looked at multiple solutions including a municipal fuel tax or a land transfer tax, but landed on the HST hike as its leading solution.
He says in order sell it to the government there needs to be a big push from municipalities. Wilson also says highlighting municipal infrastructure issues will be a priority for AMO as part of the 2018 provincial election.
Huntsville committee voted to pass the motion to support AMO in its endeavor this week. There’s no set timeline for when this tax hike would be put into place, if approved by the province. You can read more about AMO’s proposal on its local share website.