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Taxpayers: Torontonians need tax relief not tax hikes in budget 2021

Author: Jasmine Moulton 2020/12/16

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020

Toronto, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is reminding city council that Toronto taxpayers need tax relief – not hikes – in the city’s 2021 operating budget. City council is meeting today to consider the city’s three rate supported budgets (water, waste management, and parking), but it doesn’t plan to release the operating and capital budgets for all other services and programs until January 2021.

“Mayor John Tory and city councillors are always looking for ways to take more money out of taxpayers’ pockets,” said Jasmine Moulton, Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “We’re reminding them that taxpayers are struggling to balance their own household budgets, so they don’t have money to pay for tax hikes.”

While Ontario municipalities are projected to run a combined $6-billion budgetary surplus in 2021, Toronto is projecting a $1.5-billion deficit for next year and is asking the federal and provincial governments for support.

“There are three levels of government, but only one taxpayer footing the bill for all of their spending,” said Moulton. “Politicians need to find savings instead of raising taxes in a fragile economy where families and businesses are struggling to get back on their feet.”

Tory was elected twice on a promise to not raise property taxes above the rate of inflation. He broke that promise when he introduced the city building levy on top of property taxes and voted to raise it to 10.5 per cent by 2025. Each 1.5 per cent increase adds a cost of $43 for the average household, according to the mayor’s office, meaning that costs will surpass $300 by 2025.

Toronto city council has a history of lavish spending:

  • The city spent $160,000 installing 25 kms of bike lanes in Scarborough as part of its pandemic response, only to spend $80,000 five months later tearing them out
  • Tory is forging ahead with his extravagant plan to build $3.8-billion Rail Deck Park
  • Toronto owns five golf courses that lose money every year, face declining usership, and require $10 million in improvements 
  • The city of Toronto had 6,805 government employees on its Sunshine List in 2019, a number which more than tripled in 10 years
  • The city also has 375 employees on payroll who are set to receive two pensions, according to a report from SecondStreet.org

“There’s still plenty of room to save money instead of raising taxes in the city of Toronto,” said Moulton. “Taxpayers are counting on city council to do the right thing.”

From February to May of this year, employment in Toronto dropped by 13.3 per cent, throwing more than 470,000 people out of work.

 

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Jasmine Moulton

Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

p. 416-573-5458

e. [email protected]