The ongoing debate about trasnsit funding produced a few rather strange proposals recently.
On April 1, writing in Metro, John Sewell suggested that the “crybabies on Council” who think Transit City is so important should just raise property taxes by $500 per house to generate $400-million/year. This is a ridiculous proposal for many reasons, notably that a jump of that magnitude would not be politically saleable to anyone on Council. This year’s increase is far, far lower, and even that produced howls of outrage from those who claim the city taxes too much already.
If taxes were raised enough across the board to generate $400m, that would be a 14% increase. I can hear the Board of Trade screaming now about how uncompetitive Toronto would be. If the whole load goes on the backs of the residential taxpayers, the percentage increase would be much higher.
Sewell, of course, is setting up a phony argument here by saying Toronto taxes are so low relative to those in the GTA, and if only we would raise them to the average, we would have all the money we need. Does he honestly think voters would tolerate such a change? If he were still mayor, would he run on that platform? Continue reading