Tuesday’s Throne Speech includes promises on issues that keep New Brunswick’s mayors and councillors up at night – including access to dependable health care and addressing skyrocketing WorkSafe rates.

“Our members have sounded the alarm on these issues, in their communities and to the government. We’re encouraged to see these promises in the Throne Speech and we’re ready to help the government deliver for our residents.”

The Throne Speech also promises to give municipalities more authority and autonomy, and to “explore where economic development and tourism decisions can be better run by municipalities.” However, it does not address municipal finances, and that’s an essential part of the conversation, says UMNB President Wayne Sturgeon.

“Authority isn’t much use if you can’t afford action, and new responsibilities without new revenues are just another cost on the backs of our residents,” said Sturgeon. “We need to address how municipalities can afford growing responsibilities. Premier Higgs’ election promise to share cannabis revenues with municipalities would be a great start, and a signal that this government plans to do things differently.”

The Throne Speech includes other UMNB priorities, including promises to review the doctor billing number system, increase the role of nurse practitioners, and fix the ambulance crisis. UMNB strongly supports measures that will ensure better and more dependable access to health care in our communities.

Other municipal issues in the Throne Speech include removing the double property tax on rental properties, reducing WorkSafe NB premiums while strengthening safe work practices, and encouraging tourism by building infrastructure in cities and small communities.

The Union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick is a bilingual association of municipalities of all sizes – including cities, towns, villages, and rural communities across the province. UMNB works to ensure the priorities of municipalities and their residents are heard.

Read the full Speech from the Throne: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/news/news_release.2018.11.1282.html