Toronto Council has finally passed the controversial new land-transfer tax and vehicle registration tax/fee. Although a compromise was needed, Toronto should now have the stable funding that they require to run the city. Barring that the housing market does not go bust or everyone in Toronto decides to sell their car. This would never happen? But, I needed to point out the absolute worse case scenario. The new taxes might only initially raise $180-million to $200-million for 2008, less than earlier annual estimates of $356-million. Even with the new taxes, city finance officials say they still need a property tax hike. This also does not stop Toronto Council from considering new entertainment taxes, fees and the possibility, however unlikely, of a toll on the DVP, going into downtown Toronto. A land transfer tax of up to 2 per cent and a $60 fee for motor vehicle registration, which only could have happened with the new powers from the “City of Toronto” act. What will be interesting is the fall-out in the Real Estate market. I doubt there will be much change in the downtown area. Toronto still does not serve the outer regions like Scarborough and Etobicoke with adequate public transit. It should be interesting to see if funding now starts on the “Transit City” plan. There is no excuse now since they have their money and what David Miller wanted. What is interesting is that the Liberals are in power, and based on their “promises, this should be boom time for public transit. The question is, were they all “telling the truth”? Or was this all a rouse to get more money and tax use again later? Only time will tell. I imagine those, with homes just north of Toronto’s Steeles Avenue must be extremely happy. There homes just became a little bit more valuable. There will be those who want to skirt the tax and move a bit north, still within walking distance of the TTC and Toronto. They will be sad to learn that prices in Markham, Thornhill, Vaughan and Woodbridge are already high. However, the major point is that it is now time for “Transit City” to move forward, with no delays! I do not necessarily agree with the new taxes, however David Miller seemed to have no choice. I am also not totally in favour of all of their public transit plans; however something is better than nothing in the “transit world”. Other than the audit of the city contracts and the panel looking into savings for the city, council has done there part. Dalton McGuinty will now have to show if he was telling the truth? The Liberal Ontario government must start with the Move2020 plan now, with no delays or lies or false promises. Let the people in the know, do their work and lets get Toronto moving! Torontonians will now expect “results”, otherwise David Miller and company may find an angry electorate in 2010. Torontonians will be watching!
By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”
Posted in Canada, GTA Development, GTA Environment, GTA Politics, Public Transit, Toronto
Tagged , 2007, City of Toronto, Dalton McGuinty, David Miller, Denzil Minnan-Wong, DVP, Go Transit, Joe Pantalone, land-transfer, Liberals, Markham, Move 2020, Move2020, Real Estate, richmond hill, tax, Taxes, Tolls, Toronto Council, Transit City, Vaughan, York Region
Toronto Council is likely to approve two new taxes later today, according to Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone. “I think that the mayor’s compromise is going to pass – that’s my sense, absolutely,” said Pantalone, who represents Ward 19 (Trinity Spadina). “From the discussion, that’s clear what’s going to happen. The opponents are disheartened.”
Pantalone made the comments after council broke for lunch today, in a debate that council has voted to continue until a vote tonight. The debate concerns the imposition of two new taxes – a land transfer tax and a vehicle registration tax – which together will raise $175 million next year.
That number is much reduced from the original package councillors voted to defer in July. That would have seen the city take in $356 million. But a compromise put forward by Mayor David Miller earlier in the day reduces that substantially this year, by among other things exempting first-time homebuyers of homes under $400,000 and grandfathering purchase agreements signed before the end of the year from having to pay the new tax.
Pantalone said the compromise, combined with the newfound support of the Toronto Board of Trade, has tipped the balance in what was an evenly divided council in the mayor’s favour.
Will the vote be close?
“It depends on what close means,” he said. “Does it mean one vote? It will be more than one vote. Is it unanimous? I don’t think it will be unanimous.”
However, it became clear that the tax package’s opponents were losing momentum.
Ward 34 (Don Valley East) Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, one of the most vocal opponents of the tax plan, didn’t move a single motion when he stood up to speak.
“Let me say to the mayor – these taxes are yours,” he said just after the lunch break.
But the delay that we had has worked well to taxpayers’ advantage. We have been told for months that these are necessary. But miraculously, it seems that we can do nicely with $50 million less. This is either a modern day loaves and fishes story or the fact is that this city is a management-free zone.”
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Posted in Canada, GTA Issues, GTA Politics
Tagged 2007, City of Toronto, David Miller, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Joe Pantalone, land-transfer, tax, Taxes, Toronto Council
The percentage of eligible voters casting ballots in Wednesday’s Ontario election hit an all-time low despite changes introduced in an effort to boost turnout. Only 52.6 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, or 4.4 million of 8.4 million possible voters, according to numbers released by Elections Ontario.
The turnout was worse than a previous record low of 54.7 per cent set in 1923. It also fell below the 2003 voter turnout of 56.9 per cent.
Legislation introduced by the previous Liberal government since the 2003 election to boost declining turnout in recent elections did not seem to have the desired effect.
Those changes included:
* Setting a fixed election date.
* Extending the hours and number of days of advanced voting.
* Boosting the number of polling stations.
* Extending polling by one hour on election day.
However, there was a significant gain in voting at advance polls. Elections Ontario reported that 451,949 electors voted at the advance polls this year, up from 356,396 in 2003.
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Polling is an interesting subject. Over the weekend the Toronto Star published the various polls, which seem to indicate that the Liberals will be victorious on October 10, 2007. However, what is more interesting is the 905 region. There are a lot of, dare I say, extremely close ridings. Who knows how the vote will swing now that the faith-based issue is off the table. The Conservatives have a lot to gain in these ridings and we really do not know the “mood” of the public. It will definitely be an interesting night indeed. The spread in predicted Liberal seats, based on the polls below, will definitely be something to watch on election night. Another item that has been overlooked is Toronto and the NDP. Are people angry enough with Dalton McGuinty to cause them to lose seats? My gut tells me that the NDP will steal some ridings from the ‘Grits’ on Wednesday, but that is to be seen. If the Liberals come out as the winner, they will definitely get a “bloody nose” from the electorate.
For poll and predication information, on the October 2007 vote, go to http://www.democraticspace.com
Posted in GTA Politics
Tagged 2007, 289, 416, 647, 905, Ajax, Angus Reid, Brampton, Dalton McGuinty, Decima Poll, Don Valley, Durham, election, election night, Evrionics, Halton, Howard Hapton, Ipsos-Reid, John Tory, Liberals, Markham, Mississauga, NDP, Ontario election, Oshawa, PC, Peel, Pickering, polling, polls, richmond hill, seats, SES Research, The Green Party, Thornhill, Toronto, Whitby, Willowdale, www.democraticspace.com, York Region