Brain food: upcoming lunch talk looks at municipal finances

Almos Tassonyi, a senior economist, Provincial Local Finance Division, for the Ontario Ministry of Finance will present the next instalment of the McLaughlin College Lunch talk series on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 12pm in the McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College. Admission to all talks is free and everyone is welcome.

Tassonyi’s presentation, "Municipal Finances in Times of Crisis: A Historical Perspective", examines the effect of increasing unemployment, abandoned houses, an auto industry in trouble and the fiscal pressure of urban sprawl on municipal finances. Each of these developments, which would normally be difficult for a municipality, have converged into what Tassonyi characterizes as a defining moment in municipal fiscal history. What are the long-term effects of these developments on municipal finances? Was the hard budget constraint warranted? These questions and more will be answered in Tuesday’s lunch talk.

Right: Almos Tassonyi

From 1986 to 1998, Tassonyi was a senior economist in the tax section of the Municipal Finance Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing. He was seconded to Ontario’s Fair Tax Commission from 1991 to 1993 and was a senior economist with the Regional Municipality of Durham prior to joining the provincial government.

He has an MSc from the London School of Economics, did doctoral work in economic history at the University of Toronto and is currently enrolled in the PhD program in the Department of Economics at the University of Calgary. His publications include articles in Canadian Public Administration, Canadian Public Policy, Canadian Tax Journal, Environment & Planning: Government and Policy, a study for the Government and Competitiveness Research project and chapters in several books on property taxation and fiscal decentralization. Since 2003, he has presented papers at local public finance seminars in China and India. In 1999 and 2000, he worked with the Canadian Urban Institute on their Subnational Finance Project in Hungary.

The McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College, is located on the first floor at the end of the hallway where all Faculty offices are found. A complimentary light lunch is served at noon and the talks begin at about 12:15pm. Each talk is followed by a Q&A session. Most sessions finish just after 1pm and the setting is very informal. If you can’t arrive until 12:30pm, or have to leave early, that’s fine.

For more information on upcoming lunch talk schedules, visit the McLaughlin College Web site.