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This article was published 27/1/2012 (3119 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Almost two out of three Manitobans support a one per cent municipal sales tax if funds are guaranteed to be spent on infrastructure, a poll by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities has found.
The 64 per cent in favour of the tax is an increase of 10 per cent from a similar poll in 2008.
The poll, conducted for the AMM, which has been pushing for the tax, shows the public understands there is a growing infrastructure deficit in the province. One study maintains the infrastructure deficit in Manitoba has reached $11 billion -- $10,000 for every Manitoban.
"It's saying people are maybe ready to have another tax dedicated to infrastructure for the repair of infrastructure: roads, bridges, water, sewer, rec facilities," said Doug Dobrowolski, AMM president
Most municipalities across the province need infrastructure upgrades. In the RM of Gimli, the crumbling sewer and water system built in 1957 costs $100,000 per year just to patch up. But water-line replacement in the Town of Gimli would be a $10-million project, and $34 million for rural residents of the RM, Dobrowolski said.
The study found Manitobans aged 55 years and over more favourable to a municipal sales tax (74 per cent) versus those aged 18-34 (56 per cent.)
According to the AMM, a one per cent municipal sales tax would generate about $240 million to help deal with the infrastructure deficit. Infrastructure also came out on top when respondents were asked to choose one of five areas that needed dedicated tax revenue most. Infrastructure was chosen by 44 per cent of respondents, compared to 27 per cent for health care and 11 per cent for education. Men are more likely than women (52 per cent versus 36 per cent) to favour infrastructure
Dobrowolski said a patchwork one per cent increase, left to each municipality, wouldn't work, and the province has acknowledged that. "It would need to be levied across the province," he said.
AMM directors will be meeting with mayors and reeves for a series of meetings in March to decide what to do next. Premier Greg Selinger has told them he's not interested in a new tax.
The Probe Research survey was conducted online by an online panel of 2,736 people last November, of whom 24 per cent responded. As per guidelines established by the Marketing Intelligence and Research Association (MRIA), no margin of error is given for this online survey.
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