Did the flat-earthers have the right idea? Does the earth really end, drop off into oblivion, at the western border of Burlington?
Sure feels that way in Hamilton as the dust settles after this week's provincial budget.
Hamiltonians will likely continue to see increased user fees, cuts in services and property tax hikes to cover the most basic of services. That's what Greg Sorbara's budget will look like here.
There is no doubt the Dalton McGuinty government has recognized the negative impact of downloading on older cities such as Hamilton. For the past three years, the province has come through for this city with top-ups for downloading: $19.5 million in 2004, $15 million in 2005, more than $20 million last year. This budget continues that recognition, even though it falls short of expectations. As well, the province has set up a panel to review the downloading of provincial programs onto municipalities, scheduled to report next February.
Why then, does Toronto get a good dollop of social services relief in this budget? Why are the GTA municipalities -- newer, wealthier and with more growth potential and fewer infrastructure crises than Hamilton -- off the hook for pooled social services costs? The pooling will be phased out and those municipalities will benefit. We never even had a chance to get our feet wet in that pool. Source...