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Glen
2009-Oct-20, 01:22
Communities in Boom: Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities
http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/research/canada/110-economic_development/1320-communities_in_boom__canada’s_top_entrepreneurial_ cities.html

Toronto is now dead last on a list of 96, while suburban Toronto, known as the 905 district, sits at 33. The evidence is clear that businesses, some with a need to stay close to Toronto, are opting for the suburbs.

Read more: http://www.financialpost.com/small-business/story.html?id=2118500

syn
2009-Oct-20, 04:27
Apparently Saskatoon is the business capital of Canada.

It's really no surprise that the 905 has been attracting more business - this is nothing new. This situation won't last forever though.

TOinTO
2009-Oct-20, 08:12
Is it just my Mac, or are the first 3 pages to the report redacted?

At any rate, this study doesn't count as evidence for anything except for the ease with which you can dress up arbitrary rankings as statistical facts and get the media to print it.

I especially like the line in the Fin. Post article where the guy behind the survey says, in essence, 'we mutliply the significance of tax differences because taxes piss us off'

It's supposedly a poll of attitudes and optimism among small business people. Sample sizes? Margin of error. None given except that New Glasgow's sample size was too small to include. Maybe no one responded.

Crap.

Conrad Black
2009-Oct-20, 11:05
Apparently Saskatoon is the business capital of Canada.



Exactly. I guess that's why we have more new office space coming along in the core than Saskatoon has in total.

Whoaccio
2009-Oct-20, 11:33
It's really no surprise that the 905 has been attracting more business - this is nothing new. This situation won't last forever though.

Why? I can't predict the future, so I can't really say, but there is this unquestioned assumption that the suburbs will soon fall off some cliff. Suburban eschatology.

GraphicMatt
2009-Oct-20, 11:38
The argument is that the suburbs have been able to maintain low tax rates only on the backs of development fees. As available land is built up, how are the suburbs going to replace that revenue?

Uncle Teddy
2009-Oct-20, 11:44
Because if you look at the history of suburbs across North America this is generally the case. North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke, from the 1950's to 1970's, were what the 905 is today. Business fled downtown for greenfields here where land and taxes were cheaper and infrastructure was brand new. Today land and taxes here are more expensive and the cost of maintaining old infrastructure is high. Business is now leaving these areas for greenfields in 905. How long before this happens to inner 905 and businesses start to flee to new areas further out? Mississauga is already increasing taxes to deal with infrastructure that's getting old.

Jonny5
2009-Oct-20, 11:52
Your city is doomed.... DOOMED!!!!!

(and not like the last thirty years we've said it was doomed and turned out just fine, this time it really is for real domed... err doomed)

junctionist
2009-Oct-20, 12:19
There's plenty of land available for new suburbs, so couldn't the trend continue?

syn
2009-Oct-20, 13:02
Why? I can't predict the future, so I can't really say, but there is this unquestioned assumption that the suburbs will soon fall off some cliff. Suburban eschatology.

GraphicMatt and Uncle Teddy hit the nail on the head. I'm not saying Mississauga is doomed, but the conditions which have allowed it to offer lower corporate taxes and attract businesses will not be there forever. In fact, they're probably going sooner rather than later.

Whoaccio
2009-Oct-20, 13:12
I remain skeptical. More to the point, the "suburbs will soon end" refrain has let urban leaders escape any meaningful oversight. The idea that there will be some inevitable collapse of the 905 just provides an excuse to ignore Toronto's inhospitable tax climate (most of wich doesn't fund stuff like "infrastructure" per se), poor growth figures and penchant for over regulating. It's totally faith based and kills protectiveness. We're like the poorer stupider cousin who found god and thinks Heaven will be better than life.

As long as the 905 sucks up nearly all of the new immigrants and jobs, there will be development and reinvestment in infrastructure.

GraphicMatt
2009-Oct-20, 13:15
There's plenty of land available for new suburbs, so couldn't the trend continue?

Sure, but it gets more complicated. Trends show that more and more people today want to live in or near cities - culture, walkability, social groupings, etc. are big draws - you can only go so far away from those centres before commute times get too long and there's resistance.

Oil prices will invariably affect how far people are willing to commute, too.

The suburbs could mitigate this through city planning, offering some of the qualities that draw people to cities - the culture, the walkability, the social groupings - but historically they have not done so, preferring to direct nearly all their energy toward securing new development regardless of what form it takes.

GraphicMatt
2009-Oct-20, 13:22
I remain skeptical. More to the point, the "suburbs will soon end" refrain has let urban leaders escape any meaningful oversight. The idea that there will be some inevitable collapse of the 905 just provides an excuse to ignore Toronto's inhospitable tax climate (most of wich doesn't fund stuff like "infrastructure" per se), poor growth figures and penchant for over regulating. It's totally faith based and kills protectiveness. We're like the poorer stupider cousin who found god and thinks Heaven will be better than life.

As long as the 905 sucks up nearly all of the new immigrants and jobs, there will be development and reinvestment in infrastructure.

I don't think the 905 (or suburbs in general) will end, really, just that they'll face the exact same issues that Toronto faced when it grew into a big city, and as such there will be a rebalancing effect, as the 905's taxes necessarily rise as development cash cows die off.

Long term, I see the next ring of suburbs around Toronto becoming almost indistinguishable from Toronto itself, as North York, Etobcioke & Scarborough have, in terms of taxes, infrastructure and (hopefully) an integrated transit system.

Less "Us vs Them" and more "Us".

Edit: Also, it's a bit disingenuous to say that anyone has been ignoring the issues with Toronto's business taxes. They're being decreased, and that should continue.

Glen
2009-Oct-20, 13:57
Edit: Also, it's a bit disingenuous to say that anyone has been ignoring the issues with Toronto's business taxes. They're being decreased, and that should continue.

It is not disingenuous at all. The program is insufficient. There has never been any feasibility studies to determine the impact of the end point rates (2.5x that of residential). Yet there is evidence* that even at that ratio, one of two things will happen. Either businesses will continue to find the burden to much and continue to flee, or the high taxes will continue to erode the non commercial tax base, or both. In any event the the shrinking of the non residential tax base implies a greater shift in taxes towards residents than planned for.

* ask Gary Duke, or Les Liversidge in example given in the Post article. Look at all the vibrant areas in Toronto, like Kensington, west Queen West, Ossington, The Beach, etc. All contain old buildings that have been protected by capping. No one has done any feasibility studies to see what would happen once they reach their full tax rates. Most are paying less than 50% of the taxes they would at the end point of Toronto's program to reduce the ratios.

Glen
2009-Oct-20, 14:00
Oil prices will invariably affect how far people are willing to commute, too.


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syn
2009-Oct-20, 14:10
I remain skeptical. More to the point, the "suburbs will soon end" refrain has let urban leaders escape any meaningful oversight. The idea that there will be some inevitable collapse of the 905 just provides an excuse to ignore Toronto's inhospitable tax climate (most of wich doesn't fund stuff like "infrastructure" per se), poor growth figures and penchant for over regulating. It's totally faith based and kills protectiveness. We're like the poorer stupider cousin who found god and thinks Heaven will be better than life.

As long as the 905 sucks up nearly all of the new immigrants and jobs, there will be development and reinvestment in infrastructure.

That isn't true. The city has addressed business taxes, though things will not change as quickly as people would like (and perhaps as fast as they should).

The issue here is that people are citing an unsustainable business model as the one to follow. All of the issues that the city faces will be ones the suburbs will eventually have to face too. Mississauga is already starting to face them. It's like pointing to cheap housing in the suburbs and suggesting the city is doing something wrong due to higher housing prices. Suburban housing prices aren't going to stay down forever, and like taxes, they're already going up in Mississauga.

I don't know if you checked the list out, but Vancouver and Montreal are near Toronto at the bottom of the list too. Suburbs being able to offer lower corporate taxes is nothing new - in the GTA or anywhere else.

Lilibet
2009-Oct-20, 14:23
Apparently Saskatoon is the business capital of Canada.

It's really no surprise that the 905 has been attracting more business - this is nothing new. This situation won't last forever though.

Maybe Saskatchewan's new immigration policy has something to do with it.
In their need to attract and keep skilled labour, immigrants can, after residing for one year in Saskatchewan, sponsor up to 11 employable family members. They had a segment about it on CBC Radio this morning. Educated immigrants who cannot find decent paid work in the field they're qualified for (e.g. astrophysicists working as cab drivers or security guards) are moving there because of this incentive. They can find better paying employment, combined with a lower cost of living, but they can also have family join them. The great Ontario brain drain.
Just you wait and see, in another decade Saskatoon will be the centre of the Canadian universe...:D

Riverdale Rink Rat
2009-Oct-20, 15:55
>>Just you wait and see, in another decade Saskatoon will be the centre of the Canadian universe...:D

I'm just sayin'... ;)

Riverdale Rink Rat
2009-Oct-20, 16:05
That isn't true. The city has addressed business taxes, though things will not change as quickly as people would like (and perhaps as fast as they should).

The issue here is that people are citing an unsustainable business model as the one to follow. All of the issues that the city faces will be ones the suburbs will eventually have to face too. Mississauga is already starting to face them. It's like pointing to cheap housing in the suburbs and suggesting the city is doing something wrong due to higher housing prices. Suburban housing prices aren't going to stay down forever, and like taxes, they're already going up in Mississauga.

I don't know if you checked the list out, but Vancouver and Montreal are near Toronto at the bottom of the list too. Suburbs being able to offer lower corporate taxes is nothing new - in the GTA or anywhere else.

... you're going to competely change the hysteric tenor of the conversation.

There was a great article a few weeks back (forget where) about provincial immigration policies and why PEI was THE place to go. This was based on a couple of interviews and a few incentives the Islanders were offering.

The end of the article mentioned that in the last year there had been a boost to 740(!!) immigrants landing in PEI this year. 740, total.

My point is that it's easy to say that Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver are dying because they're not as fabulous as they used to be (usually on a cost basis). But they are still drawing enormous numbers of people. They're still the business capitals of Canada.

It's like complaining that Manhattan is too expensive compared to Staten Island. It is. But no one cares to work on Staten Island.

scarberiankhatru
2009-Oct-20, 16:35
There was a great article a few weeks back (forget where) about provincial immigration policies and why PEI was THE place to go. This was based on a couple of interviews and a few incentives the Islanders were offering.

The end of the article mentioned that in the last year there had been a boost to 740(!!) immigrants landing in PEI this year. 740, total.

Keep in mind that PEI only has 140,000 people. 740 immigrants in one year in one Toronto area riding is probably typical for us in comparison.

If all 740 went to Charlottetown (which is possible), that would have added over 1% to Metro (giggle) Charlottetown's population in a single year, or over 2% of the city's population. Imagine the 416 receiving like 60,000 immigrants per year, adding a new Etobicoke every Census...

MisterF
2009-Oct-20, 19:33
The argument is that the suburbs have been able to maintain low tax rates only on the backs of development fees. As available land is built up, how are the suburbs going to replace that revenue?
Infill development generates development charges as well. It's not like all the new towers in Toronto don't generate development fees for the city. Toronto's development charges can be found here (http://www.toronto.ca/finance/dev_charges.htm).


Why? I can't predict the future, so I can't really say, but there is this unquestioned assumption that the suburbs will soon fall off some cliff. Suburban eschatology.
Well the Greenbelt and Places to Grow definitely limits sprawl and ensures higher density development. And to ensure that land doesn't run out for employment growth, it puts higher protection on employment lands.

EnviroTO
2009-Oct-20, 23:23
Infill development generates development charges as well. It's not like all the new towers in Toronto don't generate development fees for the city. Toronto's development charges can be found here (http://www.toronto.ca/finance/dev_charges.htm).

What is the growth rate of Toronto and what is the growth rate of Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham, Milton, and Barrie? Development is related to growth and so are the fees that the city collects. Toronto's expenses are higher due to its size so a near similar growth rate required would be needed to provide a similar budget relief.

unimaginative2
2009-Oct-21, 01:01
Keep in mind that PEI only has 140,000 people. 740 immigrants in one year in one Toronto area riding is probably typical for us in comparison.

If all 740 went to Charlottetown (which is possible), that would have added over 1% to Metro (giggle) Charlottetown's population in a single year, or over 2% of the city's population. Imagine the 416 receiving like 60,000 immigrants per year, adding a new Etobicoke every Census...

Actually, from 1991 to 2001, Toronto averaged 51,663 immigrants per year. There was a slow down in the early 90s, so I suspect that in the late 90s it was more than 60,000 per year.

scarberiankhatru
2009-Oct-21, 02:26
Actually, from 1991 to 2001, Toronto averaged 51,663 immigrants per year. There was a slow down in the early 90s, so I suspect that in the late 90s it was more than 60,000 per year.

And Toronto averaged 53,571 immigrants per year from 2001 to 2006. I didn't mean to suggest that we're not getting any immigrants - I accidentally posted before I was finished comparing Toronto to Charlottetown. I meant to note the enormous number that we're getting (a new Etobicoke every 5 years) and how it's still almost totally cancelled out by deaths, migration, suburbanization, etc. Toronto's only growing because of immigration and Charlottetown has an even more anemic population...one could say that 740 immigrants per year in Charlottetown have an even greater impact than 50,000+ immigrants per year in Toronto.

Riverdale Rink Rat may think 740 is laughably low, but 740 immigrants per year in PEI has a huuuge impact, both in terms of sheer population growth and since most of these immigrants are likely to be family-oriented and entrepreneurial, which triggers a lot more demographic and economic spin-off benefits than 740 new seaside retirees who do nothing but golf and complain.

syn
2009-Oct-21, 02:50
And Toronto averaged 53,571 immigrants per year from 2001 to 2006. I didn't mean to suggest that we're not getting any immigrants - I accidentally posted before I was finished comparing Toronto to Charlottetown. I meant to note the enormous number that we're getting (a new Etobicoke every 5 years) and how it's still almost totally cancelled out by deaths, migration, suburbanization, etc. Toronto's only growing because of immigration and Charlottetown has an even more anemic population...one could say that 740 immigrants per year in Charlottetown have an even greater impact than 50,000+ immigrants per year in Toronto.

Riverdale Rink Rat may think 740 is laughably low, but 740 immigrants per year in PEI has a huuuge impact, both in terms of sheer population growth and since most of these immigrants are likely to be family-oriented and entrepreneurial, which triggers a lot more demographic and economic spin-off benefits than 740 new seaside retirees who do nothing but golf and complain.

Are there any stats to support the idea that the number of immigrants Toronto receives is almost completely canceled out by deaths, migration and suburbanization?

Riverdale Rink Rat
2009-Oct-21, 11:36
Riverdale Rink Rat may think 740 is laughably low, but 740 immigrants per year in PEI has a huuuge impact, both in terms of sheer population growth and since most of these immigrants are likely to be family-oriented and entrepreneurial, which triggers a lot more demographic and economic spin-off benefits than 740 new seaside retirees who do nothing but golf and complain.

... was that, in a country of more than 30mn, claiming that Saskatoon is the business capital of Canada or Charlottetown is sucking in immigrants is not seeing the forest for the trees. In both cases, the local impact may be huuuge, but the impact on Canada is negligible, due to the actual numbers, rather than the percentage gains.

Now, the early '80s Montreal to Toronto epic business migration, or the '90s impact of Kanata's Newbridge/Nortel boom, or Calgary's oil sands-fuelled growth in the '00s -- those are big, new impacts (positive or negative) on Canada and on Toronto as the business capital of Canada.

MisterF
2009-Oct-21, 12:17
What is the growth rate of Toronto and what is the growth rate of Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham, Milton, and Barrie? Development is related to growth and so are the fees that the city collects. Toronto's expenses are higher due to its size so a near similar growth rate required would be needed to provide a similar budget relief.
The population may not be growing much but there's still a lot of development. Between 2001 and 2006 the population grew by only 1% but the number of households grew by 8%. It's not the same as the 20-30% growth in households in the 905 cities but it's closer than population growth alone would suggest. Mississauga's household growth was 13%.

I'm not a development charges expert I do know they can only be used to fund certain things. I suspect that Toronto’s budget woes are have more to do with being stuck with a higher proportion of costs than 905 municipialities, like social services. The social services budget is increasing at an alarming rate due to both legislated increases and higher demand. And of course we all know cities aren't funded properly in this country.

scarberiankhatru
2009-Oct-21, 12:19
Are there any stats to support the idea that the number of immigrants Toronto receives is almost completely canceled out by deaths, migration and suburbanization?

Toronto added over a quarter of a million immigrants between 2001 and 2006 but grew by a lot less than that amount. We're bleeding people.


... was that, in a country of more than 30mn, claiming that Saskatoon is the business capital of Canada or Charlottetown is sucking in immigrants is not seeing the forest for the trees. In both cases, the local impact may be huuuge, but the impact on Canada is negligible, due to the actual numbers, rather than the percentage gains.

If Charlottetown attracted 50,000+ immigrants in one year, the size of the city would almost triple. The real point here is that immigration affects more cities than just Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, not that even if PEI attracted one million immigrants tomorrow, it'd still be 'half the forest' that Vancouver is. That's just obvious.

Should people not point out Estonia's economic growth because the country is so much smaller than Germany or Russia?

Glen
2009-Oct-21, 12:47
That isn't true. The city has addressed business taxes, though things will not change as quickly as people would like (and perhaps as fast as they should).

My biggest concern with Toronto's program to 're-balance' tax ratios is that is based on nothing more than opinion. There was no modelling done to find a rate that would produce the most revenue and promote long term growth. And to repeat what I said before, there has never been any feasibility studies to determine the impact of the end point rates (2.5x that of residential). They may be tolerable to Class 'A' offices but not much else. There is high probability that many commercial areas in Toronto, which are now sheltered by a cap on increases, will not prove viable once that protection is gone. Even at the new rates. As I said before Duke's cycle is a good example. Most areas in the city, will not be able to survive after the cap is finished.

Keep in mind that on top of paying 3-4x the municipal residential property tax rate, these commercial properties pay 6-7x the education portion.

In all honesty the program ( Enhancing Toronto's Business Climate) serves more of a political purpose than a pragmatic one. Council members and the Mayor and others can just point to it and say 'we did something' so the issue has been addressed.

TrickyRicky
2009-Oct-21, 14:11
I don't think we can discount the findings of the report, just as we should not take them so seriously as well. There seems to be an intrinsic relationship with city size and how poorly it fairs.

The interesting thing however is as a resident of the Old City of Toronto in this era of population stagnation and "flight of business to the suburbs" I have never seen so much investment, public, private, business and personal in the city. Legions of new single condo owners mask the fact that there is an explosion of households in the old city with family incomes over $100,000. In the western world you would be hard pressed to find a comparably size city undergoing such a dramatic transformation.

Is there an inverse relationship between the environment for business opportunity and the drive towards higher standard of living in a community? Because what we are really talking about here is business opportunity climate. If my business is kicking ass, or my strategic direction is rock solid do you think I really care what the marginal tax rate is? However, if I'm starting out or on shaky ground than I absolutely care about taxes as they will fundamentally influence my strategic direction.