Local Government Finance Headlines Convention Policy Sessions

A blueprint to strengthen the local government financial system is the focal point of the policy sessions at the 2013 UBCM Convention.  Strong Fiscal Futures, the July 2013 report of the UBCM Select Committee on Local Government Finance, has been mailed out to UBCM's membership as Policy Paper #1 and is now available on our website

The Committee was formed in late 2012 to consider whether local governments have the right revenue tools for the range of services they now deliver, and if not, to consider what changes are appropriate.  The report sets out some practical approaches aimed at strengthening the system that can form a blueprint for reform of the system over the coming decade.

The Committee found that while BC's local government finance system is sound, it has some weaknesses due to a dependence on property taxes, which are less responsive to economic change than is optimal and that distribute costs unfairly across income groups.  These weaknesses will become more apparent over the next 10-20 years, as servicing and infrastructure pressures continue to mount. 

Demands on the system in terms of required infrastructure and services have already been determined, largely through senior government regulatory and policy requirements.  These demands will need to be paid for one way or the other.  The question is whether we can improve the way they are financed through smarter expenditures and fairer, more economically responsive revenue tools.  

Consequently, key directions in the report focus on helping to build BC's economy, reducing local government reliance on property tax, and helping local governments manage expenditures in an environment where they are experiencing increasing pressure to provide more services at lower cost.

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