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New Land Transfer Tax

Hydrogen

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While Chicago’s case may be extreme, it is by no means unique. Across the country, local governments are feeling a financial strain driven largely by the nation’s real estate downturn.
We can't use that excuse - yet.
 

rbt

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We can't use that excuse - yet.
Municipal tax rates in Ontario are not pegged as a percentage of a homes value.

A 6% increase in assessments Toronto wide will generate exactly $0 in increased revenue for the city.

A 6% increase in assessments for 50% of the homes in Toronto will generate $0 in new city revenue, 3% tax decreases for 50% of the homes and a 3% increase for other homes.

I guess for Chicago their property tax rate is a fixed percentage of a homes value.
 

unimaginative2

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Panel gives momentum to tax plan
Swing councillors lobbied heavily as vote on new taxes looms; developers to back 'reasonable compromise'

JENNIFER LEWINGTON

CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF

October 19, 2007

A blue-ribbon panel named yesterday to take an unfettered look at the city's books adds fresh political momentum to Mayor David Miller three days before a contentious tax vote by his deeply split council.

The appointment of the independent panel of six high-profile Torontonians from business, academia and labour led by top commercial real estate executive Blake Hutcheson, along with an emerging compromise on the mayor's tax plan, yesterday pushed one swing councillor into the yes column.

"Absolutely," Councillor Bill Saundercook (Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park) said when asked if he will back a modified land-transfer tax and a motor-vehicle registration fee - which would raise revenues the mayor says are vital to Toronto's future.

Meanwhile, in a potent antidote to the anti-tax lobby led by the Toronto Real Estate Board, more than half a dozen top developers are expected to release a letter today that describes the softened land-transfer tax proposal as a "reasonable compromise" given the city's financial pressures.

One undecided councillor still pressing for cost cutting predicted a victory for Mr. Miller.

"Will they [the taxes] get passed?" Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore) asked. "Yeah, they are going to get passed."

The fast-moving developments come as half a dozen swing councillors are under intense pressure from advocates and opponents.

Mr. Saundercook, for example, is one of 23 councillors who, by a one-vote margin in July, deferred a decision on the mayor's tax plan until Oct. 22. He likes the compromise package, with relief for first-time buyers of homes valued at or below $400,000, put forward by Councillor Mark Grimes (Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore).

Councillor Suzan Hall (Ward 1 Etobicoke North) called the panel "a step in the right direction."

At a meeting last night in Scarborough, attended by about 150 people, many of them opposed to the new taxes, Mr. Miller said the city has to use the new tools granted by the province.

"If this council does not act ... the province will be able to say forever we gave you the opportunity and you didn't use it."

By no accident, the mayor's announcement was timed to compete with his right-wing opponents, who held their own high-profile events to rally opposition to the taxes.

Named to the panel are: Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment; Rahul Bhardwaj, president of the Toronto Community Foundation; Lorna Marsden, former York University president; Paul Massara, president of Genesis Capital Corp.; and Jim Stanford, economist with the Canadian Auto Workers.

Mr. Miller said their mandate is free ranging.

On the controversial topic of contracting out public services, Mr. Miller noted that private firms carry out 88 per cent of city capital road works.

"I am not prejudging what the panel will do," he said, promising that the recommendations due next February (not April as earlier reported) "will be taken seriously."

Mr. Miller, pressed hard to appoint the panel given public skepticism about the city's efficiency, said it is "important that we be, and be seen to be, effective and efficient in providing public services."

Mr. Hutcheson said he took on the volunteer assignment on the understanding that the panel could explore city operations and offer blunt advice.

"I had a brief chat with the mayor," said Mr. Hutcheson, president of CB Richard Ellis Ltd. "He genuinely wants some help and he is genuinely prepared to listen."

Emphatic that city-owned Toronto Hydro is not for sale, Mr. Miller said the panel could give "strategic advice" on the city's real estate portfolio and police staff ratios.

The naming of the panel won high praise from the Toronto Board of Trade, which lobbied hard to get a member on the panel.

But Mr. Massara, a board director, will not sit as a board representative.

Board president Carol Wilding called the naming of the panel "fantastic news."

But Mr. Miller's critics played down its importance.

Councillor Case Ootes (Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth) said the group should be asked to find savings of up to $200-million or $300-million. "Unless that happens, I think, it's always risky in terms of coming out with a whitewash," he said.

A new set of eyes

Blake Hutcheson, Chair

Regarded by his peers as one of the smartest players in his industry, he is president of the Canadian, Latin American and Mexican arms of CB Richard Ellis, one of the world's largest commercial real estate brokerages.

He has close ties to the provincial Tories and has served on the fundraising committee for both Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. But he has also volunteered his services to Mayor David Miller. In 2006, he was appointed to the mayor's economic advisory committee on ways to make the city more attractive to investors and employers.

Rahul Bhardwaj

Born in England and brought up in London, Ont., Mr. Bhardwaj is a former Bay Street lawyer who in the mid-1990s turned to charity. He became director of the United Way of York Region in 2004, and this summer took the helm of the Toronto Community Foundation.

Along the way, he plugged himself into the city's mainstream as vice-president of the 2008 Olympic bid, and worked on John Tory's run for the Toronto mayoralty and John Manley's bid for Liberal leader.

Lorna Marsden

Dr. Marsden, who combined an academic career with politics and administration, recently retired after a decade at the helm of York University where she was president and vice-chancellor. Previously, she had been president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, a member of the Canadian Senate, and a sociology professor at the University of Toronto.

At York, she became closely involved with city-building issues, campaigning to get the Downsview subway line extended to the campus and being appointed by the provincial Liberals as a member of the board of directors of GO Transit.

Paul Massara

After coming to Canada from England in 2002 to run Direct Energy, which was owned by his employer Centrica Plc, the dominant gas company in Britain, Mr. Massara quickly made his mark in the Canadian business community. Three years later, he was voted one of the top leaders under the age of 40 in Canada.

He is now president of Genesis Capital Corp., a private equity firm, and a board member of the Toronto Board of Trade, where he has been closely involved in city issues including the board's reports on strengthening city government.

Jim Stanford

As an economist in the research department of the Canadian Auto Workers, Canada's largest private-sector union, Dr. Stanford brings a labour perspective to the panel. That means, he said in an interview, that while he understands the need for the city's operations to be effective, productive and competitive and that tax dollars should be well-spent, it should not be at the expense of treating its workers humanely.

Dr. Stanford is a regular columnist with The Globe and Mail and is the author of a book, Paper Boom, and co-editor of another work, Challenging the Market: The Struggle to Regulate Work and Income.

Larry Tanenbaum

One of the city's most prominent businessmen, Mr. Tanenbaum has made his mark in sports, as chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., business, as head of a family construction company, and philanthropy, as a donor to myriad causes, including donations of $50-million to United Jewish Appeal and $25-million to Mount Sinai Hospital.

His relationship with city hall has had its ups and downs. Last year, the city helped build the soccer stadium used by the MLSE-owned Toronto FC. But a deal with the Union Pearson Group consortium, which he headed, to lease Union Station from the city for 100 years fell through.






Realtors urged to fight new fees

JEFF GRAY

October 19, 2007

Five of Mayor David Miller's most vocal opponents on council urged Toronto real-estate agents yesterday to keep up their campaign against a proposed land-transfer tax, outlining some last-ditch tactics as next week's crucial council vote draws near.

Speaking before about 250 agents at the annual general meeting of the Toronto Real Estate Board - which has lobbied hard against the land-transfer tax, and remains opposed to any compromise on the measure - Councillor Case Ootes listed a handful of councillors he said were wavering or undecided: Suzan Hall, Mark Grimes, Maria Augimeri, Anthony Perruzza, John Filion and Bill Saundercook.

"Those are the swing councillors that are going to make the difference," said Mr. Ootes (Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth). "... Call them whenever you can. Have your clients call them. And also if you can make it to city hall on Monday, pack that council chamber.

"It makes a difference."

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, the mayor's most prominent critic on council, gave the keynote address to the meeting, arguing that the taxes must be defeated because the mayor is mismanaging the city and the projected $413-million shortfall on its 2008 budget.

He also highlighted examples of what he called bad decision making, such as the recent move to purchase a theatre building for $1.2-million.

"David Miller is a nice guy," Mr. Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East) told the audience of real-estate agents. "The kind of guy you want as a neighbour. But he's not the kind of neighbour you want as a mayor."

He then participated in a panel discussion with fellow Miller critics Mike Del Grande (Ward 39 Scarborough-Agincourt), Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Mike Feldman (Ward 10 York Centre) and Mr. Ootes, taking previously videotaped questions from agents.

Mr. Feldman, a long-time North York politician and businessman who served as a deputy mayor under Mr. Miller in his first term, warned that the up-to-2-per-cent land-transfer tax could kill Toronto's booming real-estate market.

"There is a bubble," Mr. Feldman said. "And that bubble is very fragile. ... It could be burst by a transfer tax."

Mr. Feldman also suggested Toronto's financial problems are so severe the city should declare bankruptcy, as New York almost did in the 1970s.

"Maybe that's the route to go. We should go bankrupt like New York City, and then the feds and the province would have to bail us out," Mr. Feldman said.

After the meeting, Mr. Ootes responded to unusually strongly worded comments from the mayor, made at a community meeting on Wednesday night, when Mr. Miller accused his political opponents of telling a "fundamental lie" when insisting there was ample fat to be cut from city spending.

"If the mayor starts into name calling and starts calling people liars, I think he needs to look in the mirror," Mr. Ootes told reporters.
 

allabootmatt

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Between the fiscal review panel and modifications to the plan, this sounds like it's a done deal. You know your opponents have no clothes, as it were, when their best argument is "we should just go bankrupt."
 

TrickyRicky

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I agree it's a done deal.

They keep throwing around 300,000 or 400,000 as sale prices for homes. We all know however that while you can buy a condo for this price you can't buy spit in terms of a low-rise family home where 500,000+ is more in line even taking the suburbs into account. Put simply this is a $10,000+ tax on families with kids and bias towards renters and condo dwellers with no children. The property tax regime on the other hand tilts the other way with renters shouldering an unfair burden but that is also not generally appreciated. The $10,000 is a one time shot but it is real and if absorbed into lower house prices still matters by triming asset wealth at the point of resale or from the prespective of re-financing. In other words $10,000+ dollars is $10,000 dollars no matter how you try to spin the figures or how much the government tries to deflect from this reality.
 

unimaginative2

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For it is written in the sacred beige runes of North Toronto that taxes are taboo

JOHN BARBER

October 20, 2007

The natives are restless. You can hear the tom-toms from the sidewalks next to Sporting Life. The ancestral heart of the powerful tribe of white folk, North Toronto, seethes with resentment at the latest perceived attack on the white clan's diminishing autonomy.

Their young warriors become increasingly reckless with incendiary factoids while the elders enact menacing rituals in the sacred canyon of Bay Street. The perturbations climaxed this week with the dramatic revelation of the latest well-coiffed ambassadress anointed to lead their horde. Like platinum June Rowlands, who actually became mayor, and straw-blond Jane Pitfield, who flew the tribal banner bravely in a losing battle, Councillor Karen Stintz is now officially the new blond saviour of the pale-skinned Zulus who once ruled this city effortlessly.

But now seethe.

The cause of the current disturbances is a new tax regime tribal elders have denounced as a scheme to make their people pay for the misbehaviour of shiftless socialists from south of Bloor - along with their union buddies in the unspeakable suburbs.

In vain have emissaries from that impure assembly explained the basics of municipal finance to this proud but truculent people - pointing out, for instance, that the expensive neighbourhoods white folk inhabit most heavily are the very ones that will benefit most from the new regime, which is designed to alleviate the disproportionate share of taxes current-value assessment requires such neighbourhoods to shoulder.

For it is written in the sacred beige runes of North Toronto that taxes are taboo, and believers refuse furiously to permit rational analysis of this fundamental belief.

So their unrest spreads to the tribe's remaining enclaves in the Beaches, Willowdale and Leaside, threatening to unsettle the entire city. The old alliance that once empowered North Toronto blonds at City Hall is broken. The white folk are outsiders, prisoners of identity, blind even to their own economic self-interest - seemingly incapable of assimilating into the mainstream.

It's not racist to point out that if we refuse to acknowledge the obvious failures of certain easily identifiable ethnic groups in this city, we will never be able to help them. It's a precept we learned from the white people themselves.

Already we can perceive differences in the behaviour of different groups of white people, suggesting that at least some of them are capable of successful adaptation. While agitated North Toronto remains the sacred homeland of the white folk, a fact dramatically revealed by a glance at a demographic map of the city, central Etobicoke, which is just as strikingly white, remains remarkably complacent.

This is a remarkable phenomenon of great interest to students of intertribal relations. Some speculate that the divergent paths of the two white tribes, so similar in so many ways, is due to the fact that the leader of the Etobicoke branch, Gloria Lindsay Luby, is a staunch brunette. But there is even more evidence to support the view that the "Etobians," as elite Etobicokers prefer to be known, are the same as any other white people - just better informed.

The implications of this hopeful theory is clear: There is nothing about white people that makes them innately incapable of civilized co-existence with others. Given the facts, even they can understand the virtues of getting along.

To prove it, Ms. Lindsay Luby engaged in a modest educational campaign, mailing a densely printed leaflet titled "Help Me Keep Property Taxes Low" to her constituents. In it, she included all the salient facts obscured in the tribal uproar and attached a reply form to let voters advise her in choosing a solution to the city's fiscal crisis. The three options were to "raise property taxes substantially," "make major cuts to services" or "reform taxes" as per Mayor David Miller's current plan.

Given necessary facts and faced with realistic choices, 70 per cent of the hundreds of respondents who paid 52 cents to register their views chose the Miller tax package. "My ward is very intelligent," Ms. Lindsay Luby says proudly.

Clearly the Etobicoke branch is wise, reflecting its high share of senior citizens - who are also the ones, as it turns out, most vulnerable to property-tax upheaval. "I've had them crying on my phone, saying 'Don't tax me out of my home,' " Ms. Lindsay Luby says. Supporting a new tax regime that de-links services from the soaring assessments of their family homes, financing them instead with fees and consumption taxes, is Councillor Lindsay Luby's response to the direct needs of her most vulnerable constituents.

So it turns out that white people are no different from anybody else. Properly educated, they are perfectly capable of understanding what's good for them.

jbarber@globeandmail.com
 

unimaginative2

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How Miller found his new groove

Businesses back tax plan
Toronto city council is poised to approve controversial new taxes after a flurry of endorsements from high-profile business leaders.
Seeking support for tomorrow's vote on tax plan, the mayor discovers consensus
Oct 21, 2007 04:30 AM
Jim Byers
city hall bureau chief

It was meant as an innocent political observation. It sounded like a lot more.

Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, who had concerns from the get-go about Mayor David Miller's land transfer tax but ultimately came on board, was talking the other day about how deadly efficient the Toronto Real Estate Board was. Board workers prowled the offices at city hall prior to council's July vote on Miller's tax scheme and ultimately convinced intimidated politicians into deferring the decision until after the Oct. 10 provincial election.

"They had a paid lobbyist," said Lindsay Luby. "Who did we have? Nobody."

The city didn't have a lobbyist to woo its own councillors prior to their deferral, but they did have the mayor and his team of loyal supporters. Critics have suggested he failed to anticipate the lost vote back in July, in part because he doesn't make the rounds of councillors and keep track of their worries and issues the way he could.

If that's the case, Miller appears to have learned his lesson. The quiet mayor in the corner has morphed into the harmony-seeking mayor who's out and about with councillors and peppering his speeches with words like "consensus."

His new approach is expected to pay off tomorrow, when council is all but certain to approve a new land transfer tax and a vehicle registry tax that will help Toronto deal with perhaps half of its expected $400 million to $500 million budget shortfall for next year.

But the ride has been far from smooth, and critics say the city never would have been in this mess if Miller had only paid a little more attention to the plebes on city council back in July.

"When he was mayor, Mel Lastman's assistants would come around once a week or so and see what was up," said councillor and tax opponent Paul Ainslie. "David and his people don't do that enough."

Councillor Brian Ashton was named to Miller's executive committee late last year and said he hardly ever dealt directly with the mayor. Ashton, Miller points out, supported the tax scheme at executive committee but then voted for the deferral at council in July – a move that led to his removal from the executive.

That deferral led to a flurry of sensational headlines and embarrassing moments for the city. Miller warned that losing the chance to levy the taxes over the summer and fall would mean cuts, and he announced in August that community centres would be closed Mondays and some outdoor skating rinks wouldn't be open over Christmas.

A huge backlash erupted, and a chastened Miller and council reinstated the community centre hours. MasterCard donated cash to keep the rinks open.

Faced with a desperate need to get the new taxes okayed, Miller gave in to right-wing and business interests and this week agreed to set up a panel of high-profile Torontonians who will delve into the city's books.

Asked this week why he didn't create the panel three or four months ago, Miller shrugged. "I can't really answer that," he said.

It was a rare slip by a mayor who's usually adept at dealing with the media.

But by the end of the week, with the help of west-end Councillor Mark Grimes' compromise land transfer tax plan, Miller was back on top of his game. He was able to trumpet a letter of support from the Toronto Board of Trade and 10 major developers, people usually more comfortable with pink Tories than with mayors who used to sport the orange election signs of the NDP.

The chess pieces appear to have been restored to their rightful place from the mayor's perspective. But his allies still sound a bitter tone when they talk about the deferral in July. Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone said the real estate board didn't obey the rules of the game.

"They should've let the city know" that they were lobbying against the tax, he said. "They're a quasi-public group and it's hard to take them seriously when they play dirty."

Pantalone was asked if the mayor, as critics charged, failed to properly gauge the mood of council prior to the July deferral.

"Well, the mayor is a nice guy and he always expects the best of people," Pantalone said. "He expected the best and he got let down. I'm sure if he had known (that council might defer his tax vote) he would have put in an extra effort."

Critics say that's the point – that Miller didn't know what council might do. Miller insists he worked the hallways as well as the real estate board, and that he had the votes to get the taxes okayed. But he was taken aback by the sudden surge in support for the deferral motion.

"Sometimes debate changes votes," Miller said. "That's what happened. I knew it would be one or two votes, and our system is different from the federal or provincial (party) system."

Miller was asked if his recent outreach to councillors – he didn't go to any of the public consultations prior to the July vote but twice this month ventured into hostile territory to talk to residents – marks a renewed effort to stay in better touch with councillors.

"I've worked hard on getting the votes for this because I think it's critical to the future of the city," he said, leaning forward in his seat behind his large city hall desk. "I work closely with members of council. I'm very inclusive. That's my style, always has been.

It's been the most painful of times for Miller. But he agrees the city might have emerged from the fire with a renewed strength.

"The city is better off for people coming to a consensus," he said.

"The city is better off that prominent developers have acknowledged that it's good for their industry that the city has the ability to invest in things that support development. It is good that members of council like Mark Grimes have worked to find a consensus. It's good that we have the citizens panel, which will help us both find innovation and show the public where we can be innovative.

"The cost containment measures were very regrettable to have to undertake," Miller added.

"My mandate is to build. But those (cuts) also made clear, though, what's really at stake. I think the City of Toronto and city hall as an institution or a government is better off in some ways by having to build a consensus because it became very clear what was at risk, which is our quality of life."

KEY PLAYERS

This week's council debate on whether to impose a land transfer tax and vehicle registration fee promises to be heated and contentious. Here are some of the people to watch.

Von Palmer: Lobbyist for the Toronto Real Estate Board prowled city hall prior to council's July vote on Miller's tax plan and, with the help of fellow TREB lobbyist Mauro Ritacca, persuaded a majority of politicians to go against Miller. For a guy with little city hall experience, Palmer learned quickly how to pull the right levers.

Anthony Perruzza

Mr. Reluctant. Despite personal entreaties from Miller, the York University-area councillor says he probably won't make up his mind until minutes before the vote. For now, he will say only he feels uneasy about imposing new taxes.

Mark Grimes: Councillor for Ward 6, Etobicoke- Lakeshore, emerged as a surprise go-between and helped craft the compromise plan that brought other small-c conservative councillors on board Miller's tax express. He could be a key force down the road for Miller.

Dalton McGuinty: It was the Premier who agreed to give the city its taxing powers in the first place. If council agrees to inflict some tax pain on itself, he might be persuaded to do more to help with uploading down the road.

Suzan Hall: A steady but unspectacular performer, the north Etobicoke councillor gained a prominent profile when she orchestrated a motion last July to defer the vote until now. The idea was to put heat on Queen's Park during the recent provincial election. It didn't work.

John Filion: Normally a councillor whom Miller can count as an ally, he's facing pressure from Willowdale constituents about the land transfer tax. Filion says he's willing to consider compromise proposals, but will have to evaluate them as they come forward on the floor of council.
 

unimaginative2

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Developers back Miller's tax plan

Realtors battle hike in land transfer tax
When he picked a land transfer tax as his main weapon of choice against a looming city budget crisis, Mayor David Miller landed a formidable opponent in the Toronto Real Estate Board.
Oct 19, 2007 10:37 AM
Jim Byers
CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF

Mayor David Miller’s campaign for new taxes received a major boost this morning when a group of developers endorsed his latest plan.

The Toronto Real Estate Board and other real estate groups have vigorously lobbied against Miller’s plan for a land transfer tax. But 10 well-known development industry officials have sent Miller a letter saying the latest version of a land transfer tax is a “reasonable†proposal.

The letter, released this morning by Miller’s office, says the group was concerned about the potential impact the tax would have on their industry.

“However, we are also aware that it is important that the city maintain a high level of service for its residents and invests in new and existing infrastructure to ensure Toronto remains as a clean, safe and vibrant city,†it says.

“In this respect, we were recently presented with a modified proposal which we believe is reasonable in the circumstances.â€

The letter should help Miller convince reluctant councillors to endorse his plan at Monday’s council meeting. Even Miller’s most vocal opponents now say it appears the mayor has the votes to get council to approve both a land transfer tax and a vehicle registry tax at Monday’s session.

The compromise land transfer tax plan, which Councillor Mark Grimes helped draft and which has been endorsed by Miller, calls for a full exemption or rebate for all first-time home buyers for resale or new homes priced up to $400,000. On purchases other than those by first-time buyers, the tax would be one half of one per cent on properties sold for up to $55,000. Properties sold between $55,000 and $400,000 would be hit with a one per cent tax, and those selling for more than $400,000 would face a two per cent tax. The amounts would be adjusted with inflation.

In addition, all agreements of purchase and sale that have been entered into prior to Dec. 31 of this year would be exempt from the new tax.

The group also noted that Miller on Thursday set up a panel of business experts to review city spending.

“We are hopeful that with this compromise, council can move forward to continue maintaining and building this great city, and that further discussions with provincial and federal officials will result in a more equitable sharing of tax dollars for the City of Toronto,†said the letter, which was signed by representatives of Menkes Developments Ltd., The Daniels Corporation, DiamondCorp, Castlepoint Realty Partners Ltd., TAS DesignBuild, Tribute Communities, Lanterra Developments, Context Development Inc., Greenco Project Management Ltd. and MintoUrban Communities Inc.
 

allabootmatt

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Yup...definitely a done deal. TREB and its allies on council have a problem, as they begin to look very, very isolated (viz the developers coming out in support). They are going to emerge, I suspect, with severely damaged reputations from this considering that the majority of the mainstream business community is now on side and yet they continue to dig in heels/bury heads in sand.
 

Chuck

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These taxes are wrong. Our taxation system doesn't work by singling out a group of people in a certain city, and shoving new taxes down their throat based on where they live.

Every dollar that Toronto collects from these new taxes is one dollar less that the province contributes toward the same services that it pays for in every other city in this province. If Toronto collects 100 million dollars this year, that's 100 million dollars less that the province has to give Toronto. Toronto tax payers (more specifically those who contribute toward these ludicrous new taxes) should collectively be entitled to a 100 million dollar rebate on our provincial taxes next year.
 

unimaginative2

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Toronto is given the exact same per capita funding as any other municipality in the province, and a lot more (TTC funding, provincial facilities, museums, etc.).
 

Glen

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These taxes are wrong. Our taxation system doesn't work by singling out a group of people in a certain city, and shoving new taxes down their throat based on where they live.

Every dollar that Toronto collects from these new taxes is one dollar less that the province contributes toward the same services that it pays for in every other city in this province. If Toronto collects 100 million dollars this year, that's 100 million dollars less that the province has to give Toronto. Toronto tax payers (more specifically those who contribute toward these ludicrous new taxes) should collectively be entitled to a 100 million dollar rebate on our provincial taxes next year.
You have it backwards. Look here. Toronto gets more from the province, not less. The difference works out to $1054 per person, or more than $2000 per household compared to 905 averages. If you were wondering why Miller did not pressure the province during the election, I would suggest that he did not want to look the gift horse in the mouth.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Here is the article:

The 905 ailment
As funding lags behind the explosive growth of the suburbs, residents wait longer for health and social services
Tanya Talaga
Toronto Star
Sep 18, 2007 A1

Social and health care services in the 905 are eroding because funding hasn't kept pace with a booming population.

Those are the findings of a PricewaterhouseCoopers report that examined funding in the regions of Durham, Halton, Peel and York.

These shortfalls mean the 3 million people living in the 905 wait longer to get health care and social supports close to home, says the report commissioned by the Strong Communities Coalition.

The area around Toronto is experiencing a massive population influx, growing by 100,000 people between 1996 and 2004, says the coalition, an alliance of the United Ways in Oakville, Peel, York and Durham, and the GTA/905 Healthcare Alliance.

There's no sign this growth will let up as people move to the 905 to escape real estate costs in Toronto.

"Local access to health care and social services is a priority for GTA/905 rsesidents," said Tariq Asmi, executive director of the alliance. "We found that GTA/905 residents want care close to home and it's the basis on which they would vote."

The report, which is to be released today, notes that each 905 resident receives $221 less in provincial funding than the average Ontarian for local hospital care, which translates into a $944 million annual funding gap.

It also states that each 905 resident receives $218 less for social services than the average Ontarian, which translates into a funding gap of $708.2 million.

The report recommends funding be based on population size, growth and community characteristics.

Cathy and Cameron Craig, whose daughter Lindsay, 24, is developmentally delayed, live in fear funding will dry up for the recreational program they send her to daily.

"There aren't a lot of services out there for her," said Cameron. "When she graduated high school, we had to look far and wide. The program she's in right now is full."

Lindsay attends a recreational program for 30 developmentally delayed adults at Brampton's Loafer's Lake Recreation Centre. She swims, cooks, makes crafts and socializes with friends.

"We wanted a program she could continue to develop in. We didn't want a babysitting service. She wants to have a useful life," her father said.

"The biggest problem is there is no road map out there that tells you what to do when you deal with different levels with these kids."

Funding inequities translate into longer wait times for health and social services so residents often have to leave their communities to get services, the coalition says.

Health Minister George Smitherman agreed it's undeniable the population in the 905 is growing and so are its needs.

Earlier this month, the province announced it is developing a model to better allocate health-care funding to Ontario's 14 health networks. The model uses population-based factors, such as age, socioeconomic status and geography to determine how money should be allocated.

The Liberals will also invest another $100 million in growth funding for hospitals in the fastest growing communities, Smitherman said.

"To increase capacity in the GTA/905 hospitals, we are currently undertaking the most ambitious hospital construction projects in years," he said. "At this time, over 65 per cent of all GTA/905 hospitals are either under construction, or in the planning stages to bring state-of-the-art health care services to the region, worth a total of over $3 billion."

John Tory's team knows the strains in the 905, said Elizabeth Witmer, a Progressive Conservative candidate in Kitchener-Waterloo and a former health minister.

"Everyone figures there are a lot of problems in downtown Toronto but there are a lot of problems in the growing GTA and there are some huge social pressures. We have to recognize that and respond by providing the necessary funding. It's our plan to do so. We'll work with these people and determine how best to respond to their needs."

The Conservatives have promised the 905 up to $200 million annually for health care by 2012.

The New Democratic Party is also aware of the 905's needs. It believes fair hospital funding should be available to all Ontarians, from inner cities to the far north to suburban regions.

Funding gaps are evident in many areas, said Shelley White, CEO of Peel's United Way. Peel is home to many fast-growing cities, such as Brampton and Mississauga. "This is about access," she said.

In Peel Region, the developmentally challenged lack access to day programs, said White.

"Once they have completed the formal education system there is nowhere for them to go. Many have parents that are working or elderly parents who have a very difficult time caring for them all day. Nor do they have access to the residential or respite services they need."

In Peel, White said, more than 4,500 children are on waiting lists for access to childcare. In 2001, there was a funding gap of $77 million below the provincial average and in 2006 that has grown to $148 million.

"There is a family, new immigrants to the community, both professionals. They cannot get access to health care, they can't get their credentials recognized, so they've made the decision that one will work and the other will stay home with their preschooler," she said.

"Despite the fact they have tremendous skills they are actually living in a low-income situation and having troubles making ends meet."

And there isn't enough funding for Peel's children's aid to adequately respond to child welfare issues, she added.

"They don't have enough funding to hire the staff and manage the cases in a timely manner," she said.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report focused on gaps in operating funding (human capital such as nurses and social workers, not buildings) for health and social services for Ontario communities.

The problem with hospital and social services is that funding has been provided primarily on historical allocations, said Asmi.

"This is about maximizing local and timely access to care. That is what Ontarians want," he said.

"That's how you build those strong vibrant communities where everyone can prosper."
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Don't forget health and social services is 1. based on level of need 2. an area that is by and large provincially funded (esp. health) and 3. oftentimes cross jurisdictional (like treatment at teaching hospitals for individuals living beyond city boundaries). So if you have a region that has relatively speaking fewer individuals requiring social services, isn't it reasonable that the per capita funding also be proportionally lower?

BTW, those numbers are Ontario average, not compared to the levels within City of Toronto.

AoD
 

TrickyRicky

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"I suspect, with severely damaged reputations from this considering that the majority of the mainstream business community is now on side and yet they continue to dig in heels/bury heads in sand."

Hardly. Businesses may accept the inevitability of the tax and shift their operations accordingly but for the most past they don't care. As I mentioned this is almost exclusively a tax on families with children. The developers throwing up condos in the city have shown they aren't interested in this demographic anyways.

It is easy to paint this as some crusade of the people against greedy real estate agents but here is the thing, prices will continue to rise and the agents will continue to make their money. The targeted losers in this battle are middle-class income families, period.
 

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