Premier’s offer to upload service costs welcomed
It’s a “good step.”
That’s the unanimous sentiment of 905 mayors and officials reacting yesterday to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s promise to take back a $935-million load dropped on municipalities’ shoulders.
While mayors, including Mississauga’s Hazel McCallion, Brampton’s Susan Fennell and Vaughan’s Linda Jackson, are “ecstatic” and “pleased” by the provincial Liberals’ plan to upload the cost of two social services, downloaded to municipalities by a Conservative regime in 1998, they say it’s not a full solution to their funding woes.
“I’m very pleased — you never look a gift horse in the mouth,” Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish said yesterday. “It’s a very dramatic step. I’m disappointed it’ll take four years to get it, but it relieves a bit of pressure so we can spend money on other things.”
At a conference of municipal leaders in Ottawa yesterday, McGuinty announced his intention, if re-elected this fall, to take back the full costs of disability support payments and drug benefits.