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Winnipeg mayor asks provincial leaders for funding changes

Winnipeg`s mayor wants funding commitments from the provincial party leaders running to become premier next month.

With just weeks left until Manitobans go to the polls, Scott Gillingham has sent a letter to NDP leader Wab Kinew, Liberal leader Dougald Lamont, and PC leader Heather Stefanson calling for a new funding deal for Manitoba municipalities.

"It really lays out priorities that I believe are not only city of Winnipeg priorities, but I believe they're common priorities that we can achieve if we work together," Gillingham said.

Gillingham is asking for a share of provincial growth revenue, offering examples like some of the PST or income tax revenue, to replace what he calls “arbitrary grants.”

With a one time boost, premier Heather Stefanson lifted the years-long operating funding freeze on municipalities in February, put in place by former premier Brian Pallister. 

While Stefanson would not commit to anything Friday, she did say that a long-term, sustainable funding model is needed and wouldn't rule anything out.

"We'll consider what it would look like, I think everything is on the table and we'll have that discussion," said Stefanson.

NDP leader Wab Kinew also wouldn't go into specifics, but said he would negotiate a multi-year deal with Gillingham.

"I would invite him to meet with me, including before the election so we could get started on some of these discussions," Kinew said. "I don't think in front of the cameras is the place for us to start those negotiations."

Liberal leader Dougald Lamont said he is open to sharing part of the PST, and is also in favor of a land value tax.

"So the way it works is that you base it on the value of the property. So you're just paying on the value of the real estate and not on the building," Lamont said.

Also up for discussion would be how the new funding model would work. Money could be handed out on a per capita basis or based on other community needs.

Manitoba elects a new provincial government on Oct. 3. Top Stories

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