MP Guy Lauzon writes: All of the municipalities in Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry are very pleased Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to index the Gas Tax Rebate the Federal Government transfers directly to municipalities across Canada. Further, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is proposing a 2% per year increase be built into the rebate beginning in 2014.
This suggestion came forward during one of my pre-budget consultations held in January. It was put forth by two municipal politicians who applauded our Government for making the rebate permanent in a previous Budget. However, they pointed out that infrastructure costs increase each year and if some type of escalator clause was not put in place, this very helpful program could quickly lose its effectiveness.
It is important that our riding puts forth budget suggestions like this. Having this suggestion as part of the 2013 Budget is a perfect example of how effective pre-budget consultations can be. Some of the best ideas included in budgets come from ordinary Canadians. Obviously a number of other ridings put forth the same idea as we did, and Minister Flaherty listened. Along with this idea, I received and passed on 130 other suggestions from the constituents of SD & SG to the Finance Minister.
The Gas Tax Refund plays a big part in maintaining and improving infrastructure in the municipalities within SD&SG. Our Government has invested significant dollars in SD&SG through the Gas Tax Refund over the past 4 years. A total of almost $27 million has flowed to our various municipalities. Cornwall has received $11.2 million and the United Counties of SD&SG – $7.9 million. Our rural municipalities received the following; North Dundas- $1.3 million, South Dundas- $1.29 million, South Glengarry- $1.58 million, South Stormont- $1.53 million and North Stormont $830,556. One can see how important and significant this escalator clause is to the long term viability of the Gas Tax Refund. A 2% increase each year will amount to $514,000 of additional funds here in SD&SG which can be used for maintaining our infrastructure.