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Toronto sales tax, parking tax on the menu as Chow's executive committee meets

Mayor Olivia Chow's executive committee in Toronto is convening to address the city's mounting financial challenges, as outlined in a comprehensive staff report presented by the City of Toronto. The report reveals a dire financial situation characterized by a projected $1.5 billion budget deficit for 2024 and a staggering $29.5 billion requirement for capital projects over the next decade, contributing to an overall shortfall of $46.5 billion. The City is seeking collaborative efforts from higher levels of government, including the Government of Canada and the Ontario provincial government, to counteract this looming crisis.

To address these financial challenges, the executive committee is considering a range of revenue-boosting strategies proposed by city staff. These measures include the introduction of graduated rates for the Municipal Land Transfer Tax based on property value, a tax targeting foreign property buyers, a commercial parking levy, and a 911 levy aimed at covering Next Generation 911 expenses. Moreover, assessments of property tax rates, potential increases to the Vacant Home Tax, revisions to incentive programs, and the elimination of certain exemptions on non-residential non-ground floor development charges are also under consideration. The City's aim is to enhance revenue streams, streamline capital spending, improve asset management, and refine budget planning.

One particularly noteworthy suggestion is the exploration of a municipal sales tax on goods and services within Toronto. The City is requesting permission from the Province of Ontario to introduce this new revenue mechanism, aimed at fostering economic growth and providing a sustainable solution to the financial gap. Mayor Olivia Chow underscores the importance of collective efforts and partnerships with higher levels of government to achieve common goals, particularly in areas such as housing, transit, and climate initiatives.

While the proposed measures show promise in addressing the financial crisis, Mayor Chow acknowledges that they might not be sufficient to bridge the long-term budget shortfalls entirely. The executive committee is actively exploring multiple options, including the potential implementation of a city sales tax. Mayor Chow remains hopeful but notes the absence of feedback from the provincial and federal governments regarding the proposed actions. The City remains open to alternative approaches that align with economic growth and financial sustainability.



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