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New tax on the table in Guelph meant to make clear how the province is short-changing its cities

The 'Provincial Impacts Local Levy' would help bridge funding gaps in areas of provincial jurisdiction like housing, hospitals, and homelessness
20210115 Downtown Guelph city twitter pic
Downtown Guelph. City of Guelph Twitter photo.

Taxpayers in Guelph could soon find themselves digging deeper into their own pockets to make up for provincial funding shortfalls.

It comes in the form of a newly proposed tax meant to make clear to everyone paying it, it should be paid by the province.

"That would be identified in what I'm calling the 'PILL', the Provincial Impacts Local Levy, so everybody would actually see that on their tax bill, they would know that they're paying this extra few dollars a month, and it's going to things that need to be held under provincial jurisdiction," said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie.

Guthrie said the levy would total about an extra 1.5% to the taxpayer, meaning the average assessed home-owner would be paying five to six dollars more per month, or just over $60 more per year.

"The local taxpayer should see what both action and inaction from the province is actually costing," Guthrie said.

On the flip-side, he said the new tax, as proposed, would net the city around $4.2 million more per year to be spent on housing, hospitals, homelessness, mental health, and addiction.

"I am still a very, very collaborative mayor, I want to work with everybody no matter what party they're in, but I am to the point of a lot of frustration," said Guthrie who, up until last November, was also serving as chair of Ontario's Big City Mayors, a group which has been asking for a meeting with the province on funding shortfalls for years.

"So, if the province is not going to listen to the strength of the Ontario Big City Mayors caucus, which is 29 mayors across the province which represent almost 70% of the population of the province, and we have all of our budgets coming up right now, now is the time I feel we need to transparently identify what both action and inaction from the province actually costs the local taxpayer."

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