Rob Ford pushes 10 per cent cut to land transfer tax
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:22AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2013 2:10PM EDT
The executive committee is meeting Wednesday to debate the city’s land transfer tax, among other items.
Mayor Rob Ford has been pushing to get rid of – or at least reduce – the tax in order to fulfill a key election promise he made three years ago.
The committee, chaired by Ford, is looking at a 10 per cent cut to the tax. Another option includes eliminating the tax over a four-year period.
The city’s budget chief is obligated to look at the issue since it’s part of the mayor’s mandate.
“I think we have to examine what the net cost to the city (would be) of reducing the land transfer tax and then making decisions based on that,” budget chief Frank Di Giorgio told reporters on Wednesday.
The mayor remains committed to reducing the tax by 10 per cent.
“I feel sorry for the people that have to pay taxes twice,” Ford told reporters Wednesday afternoon at a news conference.
The issue of whether the city can afford to slash the tax is also being discussed. The debate comes shortly after the province announced it will be cutting $150 million from Toronto’s budget.
A 10 per cent cut to the land transfer tax would leave the city with a $34 million revenue gap, according to city staff.
Last year, the land transfer tax brought in $345 million in revenue for the city.
There are 39 items on the executive committee’s agenda for Wednesday. Other issues include a hike in development fees, expanding the island airport, and the future of the financially troubled Bixi bike-sharing program.
Ford’s executive committee is discussing a city staff recommendation to nearly double development charges on construction projects in the city.
The report calls for an increase of 90 per cent for residential development fees and 30 per cent for non-residential fees.
The committee will not make a decision on cutting the land transfer tax until September, when it comes time to pass the city’s budget.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson