There's nothing like the property tax deadline - and the ensuing grumbling - to redouble municipal efforts to get a bigger share of the tax pie from senior government.
This week, Metro politicians were doing just that, urging Ottawa to develop an infrastructure program with 10 years of dependable funding to meet increasing needs. Those needs include not only the 'basics' like water and sewer plants, but infrastructure that will be needed to deal with climate change and growth pressures - as well as changing federal regulations.
It's a familiar cry from local governments hit with massive downloading. When money gets tight, federal and provincial purses tend to snap shut. Municipalities are left to pick up a ballooning tab with a dwindling share of the overall tax dollar. That reality hasn't stopped Ottawa from piling on additional regulations that hit cities in the pocketbook.
Witness proposed federal drinking water regulations and the need for better sewage treatment. The latter is expected to translate into a $1.4 billion bill for Lower Mainland communities forced to upgrade the Lions Gate and Iona Island sewage treatment plants. Without help from senior levels of government, that will place a huge burden on local taxpayers. When those charges show up on local property tax bills, who are irate citizens likely to call? Not Ottawa.
Issues like environmental regulation are ones we have a collective responsibility to address. That's why, in progressive countries, their regulation is also accompanied by predictable funding.
It's an idea whose time has come.