City to consider tax on commercial parking spots
Published Tuesday, January 5, 2016 9:20PM EST
Toronto City Hall is seen in this 2015 file photo. (George Stamou / CTV News)
The City of Toronto is set to consider levying a tax on commercial parking spots as a way of generating much-needed revenue to help bridge the city’s $57-million budget gap.
Coun. John Mihevc proposed the new tax as a way for the city to make money that wouldn’t require approval from the province.
The new fee would mean commercial property owners would be charged a levy for every parking spot they provide -- likely $1 per day for each spot. The new fee would help raise $500 million a year for the city.
“That parking space that you are using costs money and as a commercial property owner, you should be paying for it,” Mihevc said.
City staff released their 2016 Preliminary Tax Supported Operating Budget which outlined a $57.4 million deficit going into new year.
However, staff left out $67 million of unfunded service enhancements, such as early-morning subway service on Sundays and a council-approved poverty reduction strategy.
With all these additional services factored in, the budget gap balloons to $90 million
Budget Chief Gary Crawford said the city is still focusing on how to balance the books “from within,” but if the Budget Committee is set on keeping tax hikes within the rate of inflation without cutting services, the city will have to find other ways of generating revenue.
“Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, New York, Madrid -- they all have other revenue tools at their disposal,” said Coun. Joe Cressy.
Cressy has proposed a hike on the sales tax, but such a move would require approval from the province. Others have suggested implementing tolls on all Toronto highways, but the idea has been unpopular with local politicians.
The city is also considering a residential property tax hike of at least 1.3 per cent, up from 0.7 per cent. A property tax of 1.3 per cent, however, would still leave a $23-million shortfall in the $10.4 billion opening budget for 2016.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson