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Press Releases 2004

 

For immediate release

November 16, 2004

Klees Demands York Region Voice in Social Services Spending

(Queen's Park)    On behalf of York Region taxpayers, Frank Klees, MPP for Oak Ridges, demanded that the Liberal government hold the City of Toronto accountable for the millions of dollars York Region taxpayers send to the city for social services under the current "pooling" requirement.

Referring to published reports that $850,000 was spent by the City of Toronto for unused hotel rooms that had been reserved for homeless families,   Klees called for assurances from the Premier that this wasteful spending would never be repeated.

"It is outrageous to see almost a million dollars of taxpayers money being squandered, said Klees.   "York Region sent $79.2 million last year to the City of Toronto to be used for social assistance and social housing."

In the Legislature, Klees quoted York Region Chair, Bill Fisch as saying "we have our own social issues in York Region and cannot adequately address our own residents needs when our second largest operating budget line item, behind policing, is pooling."

GTA equalization, or pooling, for social services was designed to recognize the disproportionate share of social program costs in the GTA being borne by the City of Toronto.   It has been a point of contention for years that GTA Regions paying into the equalization program have no say in how the funds are spent and there is no accountability.

"The amount that York Region sends to assist with social services and housing is a very very significant portion of their budget, and they have absolutely no voice in the expenditure of these funds by the City", said Klees.   "We in York Region, and in fact all the 905 partners, deserve a seat at the table with direct input and accountability in the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars of our constituents money."

"We started out doing the right thing in recognizing that social assistance requirements cross all regional boundaries.   But as stewards of the taxpayers money, we are obligated to step in and demand better when we see waste on a such a large scale," Klees added.

Klees will continue to champion an end to the "Pay with No Say" policy that exists for the regions that contribute equalization funds.

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For further information:

Frank Klees, MPP

905-707-3160