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Budget misses the mark for municipalities

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Some surprise and little satisfaction sums up the reaction by leaders of two rural Manitoba associations to the recently announced provincial budget.


"For the most part, municipalities didn’t win," said Doug Dobrowolski, Association of Manitoba Municipalities president.


While the AMM has requested more funding for badly needed work to municipal roads, bridges and buildings, revenue from the extra 1% being added onto the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) won’t go to municipalities, according to Dobrowolski. He said the bulk of it will be used for provincial projects.


In fact, the higher provincial tax will negatively affect municipal governments as they, like all Manitobans, will have to dig out more money for purchases.


Dobrowolski said the AMM had lobbied for a provincial tax rebate on such necessities as insurance, but the government didn’t provide any rebate.


"It’s going to cost us more," he said.


Doug Chorney, president of Keystone Agriculture Producers was also expecting more from the budget in the form of a 100% rebate for school tax levied on farmland.


However, despite a promise he says was made in 2011 to raise the rebate from 80% to 100%, no change was included in the budget.


"We will hold them to it," said Chorney.


Older farmers will benefit from the government’s decision to drop school taxes for Manitobans 65 years and over by 2015.


Chorney agrees with Dobrowolski about the need for more money to pay for infrastructure work within rural municipalities.


"It’s a big problem for a lot of our members too because they live in rural municipalities," he said.

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