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Mayor Responds To 2013 Federal Budget

March 22, 2013 -

This is being sent out on behalf of the Mayor's Office.Mayor Responds T0 2013 Federal Budget

Yesterday the Federal government released its 2013 budget and fiscal outlook for Canada. The budget contains a series of measures that will impact the Kingston community.

I am pleased to see infrastructure spending as one of the pillars of this budget. Kingston, like municipalities across Canada, is facing competing priorities and aging infrastructure. Having a long-term commitment to infrastructure investment allows us to better plan our infrastructure priorities.

This budget also indexes the gas tax transfer at 2 per cent annually beginning in 2014-2015. This measure ensures the fund keeps pace with inflation while adding another $9 billion to the permanent gas tax fund for municipalities over the next 20 years.

I want to congratulate the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Councillor Dorothy Hector for all their hard work and advocacy in ensuring infrastructure investments continue to be a priority for the federal government.

"FCM and its membership worked hard to bring the message to the federal government over the past few years, that cities and communities needed help to address infrastructure shortfalls," said Hector, an FCM Board Member. "Clearly the message was heard as this budget starts the process of rebuilding our nation, enabling even the smallest rural communities in Eastern Ontario to plan and forecast projects. Kingston had an active role in working with communities from coast to coast to coast to make this happen."

The budget also touched on renewing housing programs and the federal role in addressing the challenges of housing affordability and homelessness. This is something of great importance to us locally, as all levels of government need to come to the table to assist with affordable housing initiatives and long-term strategies. I look forward to seeing how this develops in the months to come.

The government also outlined a new skills training program to better match skills with our local labour market. For our local businesses and manufacturers, the government gave a commitment for a new five-year, $200 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund in Ontario.

Given the federal budget priorities, I look forward to seeing the provincial budget in the coming weeks. Kingston is looking to the provincial government to continue municipal infrastructure investments along with the continued upload of social assistance costs. Something else we'll also be looking for is some relief in the payments in lieu of taxes, or heads and beds payments.

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For more information contact
Mark Gerretsen, Mayor
613-546-4291 ext. 1405