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Denley: Cities don't need new tax powers to get through COVID-19. There is a better way

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The financial blow that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to all three levels of government is going to leave taxpayers with a long-term hangover, but the problem is most difficult to solve at the municipal level.

The federal and Ontario governments both had substantial deficits and accumulated debts prior to the pandemic. The borrowing and spending both governments are doing to try to keep people somewhat financially intact will make those problems much worse, but both governments can run deficits and carry more debt.

That’s a luxury the City of Ottawa doesn’t have. By law, municipalities are not allowed to budget for a deficit, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop them from incurring one. The city estimates that it will have lost just over $100 million in revenue by the end of June, more than half of that from declining OC Transpo fares. If the economy remains significantly shut down until the end of the year, lost revenue could reach $272 million.

That’s a lot of money in a $3.76........

© Ottawa Citizen