Toronto's mayor launched his campaign for a slice of the federal Goods and Services Tax pie on Monday, arguing that one cent of the GST will bring millions of dollars into the city to pay for infrastructure costs.

Mayor David Miller said that Canadian cities are the "engines" of the economy in a written statement on a website promoting the cause. He argued that a single penny share of GST revenues collected by the federal government will amount to about $410 million per year for Toronto alone.

"Right now, municipalities get none of the revenue created when the economy grows," Miller wrote on

"However, municipalities pay the cost of growth through maintaining and building the infrastructure required to support healthy economies and cities. Cities make sizable contributions to the national economy."

He said that of all the federal and provincial taxes paid by residents, about "eight cents of every dollar" stays within Toronto. Miller believes that paying for municipal services, city infrastructure and some social services -- which were once funded by the province -- has become a "too great a burden" for property taxpayers alone to support.

Through the website, Miller has launched an online petition and is encouraging people to contact their Member of Parliament. Visitors to the site can also request buttons and stickers to show their support for the one cent proposal.

Pressuring the federal government for a penny-share of the GST was a major plank in Miller's bid for re-election. He said that Ottawa's financial situation was quite strong and that he would make his one cent proposal an issue during the next federal election, adding that he would not take no for an answer.

"We will be watching and we will be voting!" he shouted to supporters after winning the Nov. 13 election.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Miller said he is not asking for a "handout" or "bailout" from the federal government.

"It's our money."

Miller, who made his demand at the Toronto Summit Alliance, had the backing of several mayors from the GTA.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, however, says the federal Conservatives won't agree with Miller's plan.

"Before we can ask for a penny of the GST, we have to get our own house in order," Minnan-Wong said, referring to Toronto's large deficit.

But former NDP premier Bob Rae says Minnan-Wong is playing politics.

"This is not about a couple of dollars here or there, this is about a major imbalance," Rae said.

Miller says the penny from the GST will go towards immediate needs such as transit, housing and the environment.

Miller's idea is getting qualified support from his city's next door neighbour. Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion was not convinced about the long-term effectiveness of the one cent proposal.

"It's to deal with the immediate needs we have. It's not the solution," McCallion said.

With a report from CTV's Desmond Brown