The tax-and-spend Days of David Miller have returned to City Hall.
In 2005 under the socialist Miller, Toronto residents were handed a new duplicate Municipal Land Transfer tax, a vehicle registration tax, a separate garbage levy and a billboard tax (dubbed a Third Party Sign Tax).
But that wasn’t enough to keep the red ink at bay.
Miller finished his term with an increase in the net debt of 176% and some near depleted reserve funds.
Mayor Rob Ford axed the vehicle registration tax but the others remained, city officials and the city’s spendthrift politicians becoming increasingly reliant on these extra taxes and steadily increasing user fees to pay for their profligate spending.
Mayor John Tory added to this a vacant homes tax and a building fund levy, the latter never used to fund construction in the city but rather to pay down the city’s massive debt.
He left the city with a $1.5-billion budget hole.
With another socialist in the driver’s seat, even these six extra taxes – which are on top of Toronto’s property tax – are far from enough to balance the books and to satiate the tax-and-spend monster.
This week at council Mayor Olivia Chow and her comrades voted for at least six more taxes.
By far the most contentious is a Made in Toronto municipal sales tax of 1% which requires provincial approval. I’m guessing that won’t happen, unless the province wants to drive everyone to the GTA to shop.
There’s Chow’s “mansion tax” which will increase the MLTT rates on a sliding scale for homes valued $3-million or more.
The $5/hour cap on street parking will be removed, making it absolutely prohibitive to park in this city, particularly downtown.
Councillors want staff to look at implementing a foreign buyer land transfer tax, a commercial parking levy and an increase to the vacant home tax from one percent to three percent.
They also voted for city staff to look at charging a tax to travellers coming through Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (an airport that Chow never wanted).
I guess they want to kill tourism altogether.
Now I know that socialists find saving money to be nothing short of heresy (other people’s money that is) but with Toronto’s economy still fighting to come back from Covid and vacant storefronts on every street, you’d think they’d be a little more concerned about where all of this is headed.
But these impulsive, lazy thinking and certainly far from creative councillors took the easy route: Tax more. Go after the rich and tax the middle class right out of their homes at least until they leave Toronto for good.
For sure this could kill an already battered economy and drive residents to the GTA and well beyond Toronto to live and shop.
I’m virtually certain none of these deep thinking spendthrifts even stopped to think that a municipal sales tax would hurt even the poor and vulnerable they say they want to protect.
These moneygrubbers couldn’t care less.
Chow, despite her contentions that she understands budgets, never had to make real money in a real job. She’s lived pretty much off the public teat her entire career.
So there’s that.
But the real insult to all Torontonians who pay the freight is that these moneygrubbers are still behaving as if the good times continue to roll.
A bailout for a near bankrupt Artscape (which has been at the public teat for years and expanded beyond its means)? Absolutely.
Changing the name of Dundas St. W., to the tune of nearly $9-million and counting. Chow confirmed she’s on board with that plan.
Putting a moratorium on bike lanes for the time being would never happen.
The thought of even looking at the books, or conducting a review of the city’s bloated payroll – including and most especially that at the TTC doesn’t stand a chance of being considered.
Forget about looking at contracting out more of the city’s garbage as Stephen Holyday, the lone councillor with common sense, proposed.
Or the idea of productivity, unheard of at Toronto City Hall.
Or they could open up tendering of large construction jobs to all union shops instead of the select 11 council which are part of closed shop tendering approved under Tory in 2019. They could but they won’t seeing as most are beholden to the unions, Chow in particular.
Come to think of it, Toronto does not need to be a Sanctuary City. Chow and her comrades could say no to the influx of asylum seekers instead of whining that they have no money and no place to house them.
She could remove the squatters from Allan Gardens instead of enabling them by having more than a dozen city workers and security babysit them as I saw this week.
There are a myriad of ways City Hall could recoup money instead of making taxpayers foot the bill for their spending excesses.
But that will never happen.
With these new taxes, Chow and her comrades have put one more nail in the coffin of a once beautiful thriving city.
Toronto is on its way to becoming San Francisco, Chicago, L.A. and any other city run by progressives who only know how to enable the homeless and drug addicted and tax their way out of their mismanagement.