Mayor John Tory has been outspoken on his wish list for the provincial government, asking for support for affordable housing, funds for public transit, and relief for parents paying pricey childcare costs.
In the provincial budget tabled at Queen’s Park Thursday afternoon, the Liberals gave Toronto some new tools to help ease the city’s pressures.
But is it enough? Here is some of the good news and bad news Toronto received today.
Vacant property tax -- The province announced some measures to help stabilize Toronto’s red-hot real estate market but today, Toronto received word they would soon be able to implement a new tax on vacant property owners.
Tory had mentioned a vacant tax would help increase supply for market starved house hunters.
Hotel tax – Tory had also flouted the idea of a hotel tax as a revenue tool for the city and in December city council formally requested that the province introduce legislative changes to allow one. Today the Liberals announced that they would amend that legislation. Will that affect tourists using Air BnB? That has yet to be seen and will be up to the municipality to decide.
Provincial land for affordable housing – The Liberals said today it would dedicate a minimum of 20 per cent of its land in the West Donlands and Grosvenor/Grenville to social housing, translating to 2,000 new spaces in Toronto. The land itself is worth between $70-million and $200 million.
TCHC repair funds – Tory has repeatedly asked for $864M over 10 years from each level of government to help ease the repair backlog for Toronto Community Housing Corp. No new funds were announced by the province today but they reiterated their commitment to provide $130M for the retrofitting of TCHC properties as part of their climate change action plan.
No road toll consolation prize – The budget held zero surprises on the road toll front. Premier Kathleen Wynn has long said that she wouldn’t give Toronto the power to put in road tolls on the city’s highways. Tory has said he needs the province to step up with more funds for transit building but Thursday’s budget held no new funds for transit projects. Toronto will however receive a bigger portion of the gas tax, starting in 2019.