Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Rob Ford pushing for 10 per cent cut to land transfer tax

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to reporters at a news conference at City Hall on Jan. 25, 2013, after hearing that he had won his appeal in a conflict of interest case.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Mayor Rob Ford is pushing to cut Toronto's land transfer tax by 10 per cent as soon as possible, a move that could take more than $30-million out of the city's coffers.

Mr. Ford is asking for a staff report on his proposal by July, promising to put it on the council agenda as soon as possible.

"I've said we are going to do it. We have to start moving on it," Mr. Ford said during a meeting of his executive committee Wednesday. "Let's put it on the floor of council and have the debate."

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Ford promised to scrap the tax during his campaign for mayor. Putting it before council as it gears up for the next election allows him to claim he took action whether or not his proposal gets council's backing.

"It won't be a boring summer, that's for sure," he predicted after the committee endorsed his request.

The debate is bound to be controversial, with several councillors, including executive committee member Councillor Paul Ainslie saying any talk of cutting the tax must include a discussion of what services would be affected by the loss of revenue.

Mr. Ainslie said he did not support the tax when it was introduced, but wonders how the city, which spends most of budget on salaries, will offset the lost revenue. "We are going to have to look at reducing services or programs, and if we don't, you transfer that money onto the property tax," he said.

Councillor Shelley Carroll, a former chair of the budget committee under the last administration, fears a cut in the land transfer tax will shift the burden onto vulnerable groups such as elderly homeowners who are already struggling to pay property taxes.

Councillor Gord Perks said it will be hard to convince other area local governments to join the city in any new tax to support transit if Toronto is busy cutting its own taxes. "Clearly he is not serious about healthy finances for the City of Toronto, " he said.

The mayor made it clear he wants the city to make up for the lost millions in revenue by cutting costs, not increasing other taxes.

Story continues below advertisement

"I think the budget chief and the city manager are going to have to start rolling up their quarters," he said. "We are going to have to start finding the efficiencies down here."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Toronto City Hall bureau chief

  More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨