The increase in Torontonians' tax bill could climb to 16.5% if Ottawa does not provide $250 million to the City, says the budget chief.< /p>
Toronto needs a major property tax hike to rebuild itself financial health, according to budget chief Shelley Carroll.
Ms. Carroll says the steep property tax hike is necessary, despite savings of more than $600 million reported by officials, because the projected shortfall is nearly $1.8 billion, this year.
We can no longer simply postpone solving the problem until x27;next year. We need to get Toronto back on the right path.
A quote from Toronto Budget Chief Shelley Carroll
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We would have been in a real abyss [without the new $1.2 billion financial pact with the province], adds municipal director Paul Johnson. The three-year deal provides nearly $400 million in relief this year.
He hopes to be able to recommend smaller property tax increases in the coming years. We always try to find the right balance [between the budgetary needs and the financial means of the residents], he says.
In Ontario, provincial law requires municipalities to have a balanced operating budget each year.
Last year, Toronto drew hundreds of millions of dollars from its reserves to balance its budget, while the shortfall exceeded 1 billion. This year, however, Ms. Carroll is rejecting that approach. You have a new budget chief and a new mayor, she replies.
There remains 200 to 250 million in reserves that have not yet been allocated, specifies the City's financial director, Stephen Conforti.
In Montreal, property taxes will increase by 4.9% on average this year, while they will climb by 7.5% in Vancouver, after an increase of 10.7% last year.
Toronto also continues to demand 250 million annually from the federal government to house asylum seekers and refugees, accusing the Trudeau government of not currently paying its fair share.
This is a federal responsibility, she says.
Ms. Carroll warns that the property tax hike could jump another 6% if Ottawa does not confirm additional subsidy by January 26.
Olivia Chow had nevertheless said during the electoral campaign that property taxes would increase significantly “modest” if she were elected. (Archive photo)
This is the first annual budget for new Mayor Olivia Chow, who warned residents in December that they would have to pay more in 2024, despite the new financial pact concluded with the provincial government.
Councillor Carroll indicated last week that the property tax increase would be “substantial” this year, without quantifying it .
Property taxes increased by 5.5% in 2023 in Toronto, in addition to an additional 1.5% for infrastructure.
During the electoral campaign, Ms. Chow had nevertheless affirmed that she would increase the property tax in a “modest” way, without wanting to give any figure.
Budget consultations are expected to take place in the coming weeks. The city council is scheduled to adopt the final version of the 2024 budget on February 14.
Former city councilor John Filion says the Queen City has chronic financial problems, in part because elected officials have not had the political courage in the past to raise property taxes above the rate of inflation.
The council largely ignored the warnings of a succession of municipal managers who told elected officials that they had to cut services to have low property taxes or raise them to have good services, he said .
The former councilor hopes that Mayor Chow will be able to convince the public to accept this very difficult [budgetary] exercise.
To increase its revenues, the Queen City is also evaluating the possibility of imposing new taxes, among other things on parking.
C' It's difficult these days to earn a living and pay your expenses, says owner Avi Bodenstein, who is opposed to the possible increase in her municipal tax bill.
I am not convinced that this money will be spent correctly. The city is just adding more and more expenses for homeowners, she thinks.
Toronto resident is unhappy of the proposal to increase property taxes by 10.5%.
Whether you rent or own, politicians and public officials need to understand that making ends meet is difficult, says Avi Bodenstein.
Another Toronto owner, Mike Kearney, thinks many people are already struggling to make ends meet. remain homeowners.
I feel sad for people like my son in college, whose prospects for x27;homeownership looks bleak, he believes.
With information from CBC News