Toronto Mayor John Tory likes to complain that a $4.7 Billion gap exists between what Toronto residents pay in provincial and federal taxes versus what the City receives in transfers back from the higher levels of government.
There is a concept of economics called zero-sum-gain. It’s a perception that one party’s gain must automatically result in another party’s loss. In this case, Mayor Tory believes Toronto is coming out on the losing end in relation to its place within Ontario and Canada.
Toronto is not a loser within the context of Ontario and Canada. Toronto has done very well with the economic activity that exists within the Greater Toronto. With 2.79 million residents, Toronto is heavily dependent upon the rest of the GTA, who has a population of 3.6 million residents, to bolster its workforce and customer base. Investments in roads and other infrastructure within the broader GTA help Toronto get its goods to market.
The viewpoint of the York Region Taxpayer Coalition is to ask Toronto to tax its property owners on par with the rest of the GTA. For example, a home in Brampton which is assessed at $500,000 will pay $5,278 in property taxes. In Toronto, the same assessed value home only pays $3,495.
If every Toronto homeowner paid taxes on par with the average of the GTA property taxes, then Toronto’s funding shortfall would be solved.
Yet Toronto refuses every opportunity to narrow that gap.
This past week, after years of studying the solution, Toronto City Council refused to enact a levy that much of the GTA pays concerning storm water infrastructure. Since 2013, the City of Toronto has been studying this levy that would raise funds to upgrade infrastructure in anticipation of higher expected annual precipitation rates. In the backdrop of the flooding in Quebec and Ottawa regions, which should have underscored the need for flooding prevention measures, Toronto Council’s executive committee voted to defer the initiative at John Tory’s request.
John Tory is the epitome of a Mayor who is more concerned with re-election than with leading the City he was elected to lead. He wants to appear that he is fighting for infrastructure funding while refusing to use his proper authority to raise these funds himself.
It’s time for Queen’s Park and Ottawa to demand that the City of Toronto get it’s own fiscal house in order first before listening to any entertaining any further funding requests.
The rest of us are simply tired of footing Toronto’s bill.