Lakeshore Councillor Calling For Fair Share Of Pot Tax

A Lakeshore councillor wants the federal government to re-think how it plans to spend tax from marijuana sales.

As it stands now, revenue will be split between the feds and the province with nothing making its way to the municipal level.

Steven Wilder would like to see the money allocated similar to gas tax funds which are handed out to municipalities for infrastructure needs.

Wilder says there's no question the money could be used at the local level.

"The municipal level, the government is responsible for more individual services on a daily basis than any other level. We also have the lowest amount of tax revenue and avenues to raise taxes, really, aside from property taxes and user fees we have nothing else. We are heavily reliant upon the federal and provincial government to give us grants and divvy out some of that money."

He says there continues to be a lack of funding for core infrastructure projects.

"We hear it time and time again that the municipal gap, the deficit in terms of what our funding needs are and what our funding abilities are, continues to grow and this is a new tax revenue not being relied upon by any level of government at this point. You talk about an opportunity to start sharing that revenue and helping address that gap, I think it's a great opportunity."

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Steven Wilder, councillor for the Town of Lakeshore, attends the regular meeting of council on February 14, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Wilder says every municipality across Canada is facing a growing infrastructure gap.

"We have a lot of needs whether it be water, waste water, roads, bridges. It's not a problem that's germane to Lakeshore. It's exists in, I think, every municipality in Canada and really what we're saying is give us our fair share. Give us our proportionate share to help us address this funding gap before all that new tax revenue goes up in smoke."

With the support of Lakeshore Council, Wilder has sent a motion to all levels for government asking for a reconsideration.

The Canadian government has marked July 1, 2018 as its target date for pot legalization.