Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Toronto City Council OKs looking at new "Revenue Tools" i.e. TAXES and FEES
After a day-long debate over Toronto’s long-term financial plan, councillors voted 40-3 on Tuesday to give city manager Peter Wallace the go-ahead to investigate new “revenue tools.”
The report, which will come back to council this fall, will lay out a wide range of possible taxes, tolls, asset sales, and the possible contracting out of services in a bid to address the city’s financial needs, including $29 billion in unfunded capital projects.
Tuesday marked Tax Freedom Day, the day when people have earned enough to pay all their taxes for 2016 in a lump sum, according to the Fraser Institute.
Mayor John Tory stressed there should be no “sacred cows” as several councillors tried to delay the debate on new taxes or put some asset sales aside. Council has to take this discussion seriously and have it soon, he said.
“I just believe the great thing about this report is it is honest,” Tory said. “A number of people have used that word today. It’s honest and it puts on the table a real conundrum for us because we want to build a great city ... (but) we don’t have, at the present time, the financial framework that allows us to do that.”
Wallace said last month that in order to keep transit and housing investment promises, council must consider creating new revenue.
Councillor Josh Matlow urged council to put off making decision on revenue tools before examining its priorities and existing revenues.
“I’m not against revenue tools, but I believe that council needs to demonstrate to Toronto that it’s going to be honest and efficient and responsible with the tax dollars that it’s already entrusted with before it knocks at people’s doors for more money,” he said.
Councillor Paula Fletcher said that council has to address pressures from three agencies that soak up the majority of the city budget: Police, housing, and the TTC.
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