Pot for Pot … Holes

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The provinces and federal government convened meetings yesterday to discuss how to allocate their riches to be earned from the bounty of excise taxes to be made from marijuana sales when the drug is legalized July 2018.

My understanding is that they will work on a 75%/25% provincial/federal split.

(Let’s put aside the basic fact that they won’t make anything because we’re talking about WEED and it will be easy and legal to grow on your own without having a thousand middle-people ripping you off).

It’s obvious that all of the potential stakeholders can’t wait to spend their ‘pot’ of gold (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Unfortunately, they’ve left a critical partner sitting outside, begging to be let in on the discussions.

Municipalities are going broke and are being forced to pay for all of the road-building, shovels-in-ground bullshit programs that the feds and provinces have downloaded to them over the last decade.

Here’s a great example of an absurd ‘Sophie’s Choice’-like dilemma: Stratford planners and councilors recently announced that they will remove one sidewalk from streets that have two sidewalks in order to save funds over the long-term and to pay for much needed infrastructure requirements including replacement of water and electrical systems. Of course, the numbers make ZERO sense: they see an annual cost saving of $29,000 with an estimated cost of $1 million.

This is truly insane.

No municipality should have to make such a ridiculous choice.

What’s frustrating is that most smaller cities in Canada and the US are designed to act like a giant centrifuge: the spin and spin and fling people out to the periphery.

It’s done this way because it’s the easy choice.

In most cities in North America, suburban wards almost always outnumber downtown wards, usually by a significant margin.
Therefore, the model is in permanent disrepair. Detroit was first. Many more will follow, as cities do not have the same revenue opportunities that provinces (or states) and federal governments continue to enjoy.
We throw cash away on the wrong things while urban areas rot.
Hence, the ‘Stratford Solution’ of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
It’s time we consider allocating 100% of the funds to a bigger fund that will be used to direct cash to those municipalities that need it the most.¬† Local health care, emergency response, policing (although I don’t understand why there would be an increase in policing costs when something is being legalized), social support networks and more.
Sure … paying attention to my previous comments, I suggest an approval board and some guidance to make sure that local communities don’t use the old ‘squeaky wheel’ approach when it comes to getting their mitts on funds. Or that they’re not just blowing it on golf trips for themselves and their buddies. Maybe there should be members of the community who are allowed to oversee some of the spending.
Regardless, these funds are raised on a local basis and should be returned to the local communities and not wasted on guns, ammo and payroll boondoggles.
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