Northern Economist 2.0

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Pictures from New York

Just got back from another visit to what is definitely one of the most fascinating cities on the planet.  With a population of nearly 9 million people in a total land area of about 300 square miles, the population density is intense.  Of course, there is then the population of the broader region – the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) – that brings you to over 20 million people.  The result is a dense node of economic activity, creativity, diversity and energy and the views are spectacular.

Economic News Around the North: February 25th edition

Here are some of the stories that have some economic significance for northern Ontario over the last week that managed to catch my interest It was for the most part a relatively quiet week. Enjoy.

Investments in First Nations Infrastructure and Economies. Net News Ledger. February 25th, 2017.

Community accepts $99M settlement deal. Chronicle Journal. February 25th, 2017.

This settlement provides resources for the long-term economic sustainability of Fort William First Nation.  Investing the funds in an endowment would generate a stream of income in perpetuity available for investment in economic, social and infrastructure projects.

Marshalls coming to Thunder Bay in 2018. Tbnewswatch. February 24th, 2017.

Time to reignite Ring of Fire.  Sudbury Star. February 25th, 2017.

This one is an op-ed from one of the many candidates currently running for leadership of the Federal Conservative Party. It might be interesting if not entertaining to hear what Kevin O'Leary thinks about the Ring of Fire as a viable business proposition.

Local economy needs immigration, forum hears. February 21st, 2017.

DSSAB issue dividing region. February 24th, 2017.

Expect these types of cost-sharing issues to become more common around the north given declining urban populations and rising taxes.

Brace for impact of U.S. softwood lumber duties. Northern Ontario Business. February 22nd, 2017.

Again, it is difficult to know where this issue might go.  We may get some insight on Canada in the world of Donald Trump from Derek Burney at his talk this week in Thunder Bay.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Fiscal Comparisons for Major Northern Ontario Cities

The results of the 2016 Census for major northern Ontario cities draws attention to what I think is growing evidence that high and rising municipal property tax and user charge burdens have been inducing tax migration to surrounding lower tax townships and municipalities.  In many respects, northern Ontario cities are in a tough spot given that they have declining tax bases as a result of weak economic growth, dispersed urban areas to serve, weak population growth, and fixed costs and obligations to comply with provincial legislation affecting municipalities.