Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021
Toronto, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is slamming Toronto city council for proposing to raise taxes and take more taxpayers’ money from other levels of government while proceeding with costly pet projects in its 2021 budget released this morning.
“Torontonians are struggling right now, but it’s business as usual for city council: raise taxes and continue wasting money,” said Jasmine Moulton, Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Instead of abandoning wasteful pet projects, Toronto Mayor John Tory is raising property taxes well beyond the rate of inflation and asking for more taxpayers’ money from other levels of government.”
In his 2018 election campaign, Tory promised to keep property taxes at or below the rate of inflation. Toronto’s proposed 2021 budget raises property taxes by 0.7 per cent (at inflation), but also adds a 1.5 per cent increase to the city building levy on top of property taxes.
Combined, the tax increases will add a cost of $69 to the property tax bill of the average home with an assessed value at $698,801. That would bring the total average property tax bill to $3,201 for 2021 (not including education taxes). According to the city’s property tax calculator, the education tax would add a cost of $1,069 to the property tax bill for a home of that value in 2020.
The budget anticipates a shortfall of $1.6 billion in 2021, but has already secured $740 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments through the Safe Restart Program. The city is asking federal and provincial governments to cover the remaining outstanding balance.
Despite the shortfall, Tory has stated that he plans to proceed with Rail Deck Park, a park that would be built in the air above the railways on the west side of Union Station. The city has estimated that the park will cost $1.7 billion, but the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a report showing that it will cost at least $3.8 billion.
“Tory’s plan to proceed with Rail Deck Park is the $3.8-billion elephant in the room,” said Moulton. “He should do the responsible thing and axe this project immediately instead of asking other governments for money that all comes from the same place: taxpayers’ pockets.”
Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation