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Pro-City citizens group--Meeting tonight, 9/11

allabootmatt

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The below from Spacing. I will be there, hope some of you will also:

WHAT: First meeting of For A Better Toronto
WHEN: Tuesday, September 11 @ 7pm
WHERE: Lillian H. Smith Library, 239 College Street

Those who believe that Toronto desperately needs the new taxes that city council deferred voting on this summer may be interested in a new group that is forming in support of the “revenue tools.†The group, called For a Better Toronto (FAB TO), will have its first meeting tonight (that’s Tuesday, September 11) from 7:00-8:30pm at the Lillian H. Smith library.

Here’s some more details from FAB TO itself:

On July 16, Toronto City Council voted to defer its decision on new taxes that would enable the City to balance its budget in the short-term and move it toward long-term financial sustainability after intense lobbying from special interests that included the auto and real estate industries.

During the public debate on the new taxes, many residents found it hard to assert their voice because of the bully tactics used by the special interest groups and those who are ideologically and fanatically opposed to the concept of public services that elevate the overall quality of life in Toronto.

For a Better Toronto (FAB TO) has formed a critical mass of residents who believe that these taxes are key ingredients for achieving a liveable, creative and inclusive Toronto now and for years to come.

In addition to supporting the Land Transfer Tax and Vehicle Registration Fee, FAB TO will also encourage residents to “vote for Toronto†in the October 10 provincial election.

The first meeting will be dedicated to developing a campaign strategy and work plan.

All residents who support the new taxes are encouraged to attend this meeting and/or email to be included in future communications from FAB TO, including meeting notices.
 

Hydrogen

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I can't see how any organization predicated on extra taxes for the people it purportedly represents as a winning approach.

Are the people of Toronto second class when it comes to taxation on housing or anything else? Won't this just further drive people out to the 905? Aren't these taxes being raised so as to cushion the deeply negative effects of provincial downloading?

There is a provincial election on now. Instead of sitting around and looking for stupid band-aid tax solutions, why not focus on provincial issues that affect the city - like the excessive costs of downloading?

This is just another example of people picking up a gun and aiming at their own face. No amount of "revenue tools" (double-speak for taxes) can hide a poorly structured taxation and service system. That is a provincial issue, and little get-togethers seem to missing that crucial point.
 

allabootmatt

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Hydrogen, you're right that we aren't being treated fairly, but we have to live in the real world here. The province is not coming to our rescue anytime soon, and to whatever extent it does it will be in bits and pieces. There's simply no other way but to try to help ourselves out, right now.

Life's not fair, and until it is the streetcars and buses still need to run and the community centres and libraries need to be kept open. That's why we're lucky that the City of Toronto Act included provision for certain new taxes. Queen's Park doesn't care, period. So we can resign ourselves to that, and to fiscal disaster, or be proactive in raising the money ourselves.

Incidentally as the blurb above states this group will also be encouraging people to 'vote Toronto' in this election.

Edit: there is only one other alternative, and that's to declare bankruptcy and let Queen's Park fix the mess it's made. I won't say that's not an attractive option, mind you....
 

Urban Shocker

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If the burden of raising more tax money had been placed on the taxpaying shoulders of the acronym-mongering demographic likely to come to this meeting, with as much stiletto-like precision as it was inserted between the shoulderblades of people buying properties, would they have taken it without complaint for the good of the overall quality of life in Toronto?
 

allabootmatt

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US, what do you propose to fix the city's fiscal mess? I'm serious. I don't think these taxes are fair, either, but they're the best of a bad lot and the need for new revenue is massive. Lots of people snipe at them, but few propose solutions beyond "the unions make too much money." And maybe they do, but this is hardly the only big city with a highly unionized workforce.
 

Urban Shocker

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I think it was a tactical error not to spread the pain ( i.e. burden of raising tax ) more broadly, with many sharing a little pain and a sense that all of us should pitch in for the good of the city. A number of possible revenue sources were identified during the public meetings and all but two were dropped. I'm actually rather delighted that the vote fell apart, because it gives citizens an opportunity to confront the deeper issue that Hydrogen identifies - Provincial downloading of services and the assumption that Toronto tax payers must cover for it.
 

allabootmatt

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You do certainly have a point--I think Miller quite deliberately took the exact opposite approach, to try to make these taxes as invisible, if you like, as possible. For example everyone pays vehicle registration already, and buying property is expensive anyway so 1-2% extra's not such a big deal. I am sympathetic to some of the other revenue tools as well, especially ones like road tolls that have a tangible link to what they're supposed to be fixing. But for now I think the best move is to get these ones through, and then use that 'measure of pain' as a bargaining chip for further uploads from the province. Fair or not, the city is going to have to do some or a lot of lifting of its own in order to extract an equitable permanent solution.
 

Urban Shocker

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I think the attempt to demonize the real estate industry as the only source of opposition to the new property tax, and to dismiss it as a group with a glaring vested interest, also failed miserably.
 

brettrobinson

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I think it was a tactical error not to spread the pain ( i.e. burden of raising tax ) more broadly, with many sharing a little pain and a sense that all of us should pitch in for the good of the city. A number of possible revenue sources were identified during the public meetings and all but two were dropped.

Agree 100%. I wrote the same suggestion in a letter to Miller. Smaller taxes across many things that add up to the same amount. Don't just go after two groups -> people selling houses and people who drive cars. Cut the proposed land transfer tax in half, keep the vehicle registration (see below), and then tax other things moderately. Street parking permits are a good example. Pay based on the size (length) of your vehicle. Why should I pay the same rate in a tiny car and the gas pig 19 foot suburban pay the same? It almost takes up two spots!!! Surely that would add more $$ to their coffers. Same goes for the vehicle registration. My little car doesn't wear the roads, pollute, etc nearly as much as a large heavy vehicle with 21 inch tires. Hit fast food chains and places like Tim's with a litter levy. Most of the garbage on the streets are from them. 10 cents on a pack of smokes - again as a litter tax. ETC ETC ETC ETC

Blah blah I am rambling...
 

passthedutchie

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Please call this the David Miller fan club group.

If it's goal is to save Toronto, it shouldn't be trying to bring in something that the majority of citizens do not want. The leaders of this city are pissing away its future, and pissing on all of us by stealing our money and mismanaging it. These recently announced closures are nothing more than a slap in the face, trying to slowly punish us all.

We need progressive policies, not backwards thinking and "solutions" that continue the Toronto traditional of throwing money at problems. Problems don't go away, they become costlier and bigger when throwing money at them.

The land transfer tax just hurts those who finally able to afford a home and a car. Punish the negatives, not the positives.
 

junctionist

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Agree 100%. I wrote the same suggestion in a letter to Miller. Smaller taxes across many things that add up to the same amount. Don't just go after two groups -> people selling houses and people who drive cars. Cut the proposed land transfer tax in half, keep the vehicle registration (see below), and then tax other things moderately. Street parking permits are a good example. Pay based on the size (length) of your vehicle. Why should I pay the same rate in a tiny car and the gas pig 19 foot suburban pay the same? It almost takes up two spots!!! Surely that would add more $$ to their coffers. Same goes for the vehicle registration. My little car doesn't wear the roads, pollute, etc nearly as much as a large heavy vehicle with 21 inch tires. Hit fast food chains and places like Tim's with a litter levy. Most of the garbage on the streets are from them. 10 cents on a pack of smokes - again as a litter tax. ETC ETC ETC ETC

Blah blah I am rambling...

I'll ignore the ramblings about the environmental boogie man that is the SUV driver, but paying based off vehicle length is poorly conceived. I bet a Toyota Corrolla is substantially more environmentally friendly car than a AMC Pacer, even though the Pacer is shorter at 171.8 inches versus 178.3 inches. Sports cars tend to be small cars but get potentially half the mileage of an economical ride. Some people need larger vehicles for work, such as pickups and vans. Some SUVs are shorter than minivans, yet pollute more. The Mini is 30 inches shorter than the Prius. Guess which one is more environmentally friendly.
 

allabootmatt

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Passthedutchie: you know that, TREB propaganda aside, those "finally able to afford a home"--ie, first-time buyers--would be exempt from the tax, right?
 

Observer Walt

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I think the attempt to demonize the real estate industry as the only source of opposition to the new property tax, and to dismiss it as a group with a glaring vested interest, also failed miserably.

Agreed. The real estate industry is not only a reasonably well organized group of several thousand people, but they are willing and able to mobilize some others, and to put money into a campaign. In "demonizing" them, Miller made one of several tactical errors. Many of these people are quite active in civic life and are opinion leaders to some extent, and will remember Miller's slap at them.

What's needed is a more broadly-based tax increase. This has been evident for several years, as Miller spent down the city's reserves, and previously as Lastman had his ill-advised three-year freeze on taxes. This crisis has been years in the making, but Toronto politicians have focused on feel-good stories rather than conveying the true importance of the situation. The chickens have come home to roost.
 

unimaginative2

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I'm a big supporter of the new taxes, so I'm happy for this new organization. I also strongly support re-uploading of social services, phased in so that it's affordable to the province along with other priorities.

There's one nagging issue for me, though. 905 municipalities have been experiencing double digit tax increases year after year to pay for services, while the City of Toronto froze tax rates for several years, and has been holding increases to 3% ever since. Might that not be the main explanation for the differing fiscal capacity, and if so, why is it the province that is responsible?
 

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