Put money back into towns and municipalities

I just read your recent news article in The Reporter entitled “Mulgrave residents concerned with increases in assessments.”

We are seeing the same thing all over the province now with regards to taxation. The federal government sends this province over $2 billion per year to address our fiscal capacity issues in the struggling towns and municipalities. The group I started over 20 years ago, Nova Scotians for Equalization Fairness, has been fighting this very issue for two decades now and the provincial government will not sit down at a table and discuss the issues we are concerned about.

You see, Nova Scotia, receives the over $2 billion per year because we cannot raise enough tax revenue to deliver services to our residents that is comparable to the Canadian average and that is what qualifies Nova Scotia to the “Have Not” status so that these equalization transfers continue to flow into the provincial coffers.

We have provincial and federal confirmation that 26.8 per cent of this yearly transfer is sent to address the fiscal capacity deficiency related to property that exists within the smaller towns and municipalities. In short, the Nova Scotia Government receives over $500 million each year within the $2 billion received in the equalization transfer, to address this deficiency, but our provincial government thinks that $30 million is enough to address the fiscal issues that face our failing towns and municipalities. This practice is leaving $1,970,000,000 in the general revenue of the province, and we all know and can see where that is being spent.

This funding should be used to lower taxes and create opportunities in the struggling towns and municipalities to help them get on their feet. The provincial government does not want that to happen because Halifax Regional Municipality is a “Have” municipality and does not qualify to receive equalization payments. They use the funding to build up capitol while robbing the rest of rural Nova Scotia.

This is a reprehensible practice by our elected officials, and it must stop before all towns outside of Halifax are force to die. Hantsport, Bridgetown, Parrsboro, Springhill, and Canso did not have to die but did at the hands of our government. Shame.

Dr. Rev. Albert Maroun

Nova Scotians for Equalization Fairness