TORONTO – Economist Hugh Mackenzie says Torontos city council has spent two years giving incomplete explanations for the citys financial problems, while avoiding the main problem, Bill 140.
Its fine to look at alternative sources of revenue, but Toronto will spiral into deeper and deeper financial trouble unless the province repeals Bill 140, says Mackenzie. Over the past two years, we have heard a number of explanations for Torontos difficulties but it is only now that the Mayor and councillors have started to flag the central issue a provincial law that makes it impossible for Toronto to raise taxes on business properties.
Mackenzie did an analysis of the citys financial situation for Toronto CAN, a coalition of labour and community groups interested in preserving city services.
It is ironic that you have some of the same people who passed Bill 140 Conservative MPPs, suggesting that Toronto needs alternative sources of revenue, says Mackenzie. These are the people who created the crisis and they are the only people who can properly solve it. They are jumping on the bandwagon, saying they want to help Toronto, but they are not accepting responsibility for the problem.
Mackenzie says Toronto will be forced to continue increasing taxes and cutting services over the next 20 years unless Bill 140 is repealed. The problems created by Bill 140 are untenable, he says. Before being able to raise the taxes of large landlords, the city will have to raise residential taxes by at least 52 per cent. Before being able to raise commercial taxes, residential taxes will have to be raised by at least 92 per cent. A city cannot operate this way. Toronto is no longer is charge of its own tax policy.
Ordinary taxpayers are going to pay for these policies for decades in increased taxes and the elimination of services.
Released: February 11, 2002
Hugh Mackenzie: 416-986-4543 or
Shannon McManus: 416-292-3999