CBC Hamilton asked Mayor Bob Bratina for this thoughts on the Ontario budget and its implications for the city. Below are his emailed responses.
Do you think this budget will be good for Hamilton?
It is positive for Hamilton as the uploading of [Ontario Works] and court security is continuing. In addition, the gas tax revenue sharing is continuing which is positive. What still is unknown is how spending restraint within the ministries and the agencies they support, including hospitals, might impact our community. Given the city's strong institutional base, any funding cuts may have an impact on the economic well being of our community.
Are there any measures that would like to have seen in the budget that didn't materialize?
[The Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit] and discretionary benefit cuts will have an impact on some of the city's clients and a long-term solution will have to be developed in 2013.
Are you supportive of the measure to allow single-occupant vehicles to drive in high-occupancy vehicled (HOV) lanes so long as they pay a toll?
As the [toll] lanes only apply to highways which currently have HOV lanes, it does not apply to roadways directly in or adjacent to the city, nonetheless it will impact the thousands of Hamilton citizens that commute to the GTA. The city is interested in future consultation regarding how the fees/charges are set, so as to ensure they are fair and equitable for Hamilton citizens, relative to GTA citizens.