Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Tax Man Commeth

Well, Mayor Miller and the 44 Headed Hydra that is the Toronto City Council finally stepped up and used the powers granted to them by the City of Toronto Act, 2007 last night and voted in the Land Transfer Tax and the Vehicle Registration Act. In theory, neither will actually effect me directly, as whenever i am buying a home, I will be an exempted first time homeowner, and despite my vehicle ownership, its registered at my parents home and not to my Toronto address. It will effect me directly as because of Council's delaying through the summer to now, only about 1/2 the money that could be collected, will be collected next year, which means service cuts and tax increases, the former which will make living in the City more of a pain, the latter which raises the prospect of a big assessment increase on the apartment building i am in, with a consequent rental increase next year.

While i actually support the taxes, as i believe it behoofs our elected representatives at the local level to use whatever powers they have before we go running cap in hand to the Provincial or National governments, the fact that they both have surpluses illustrates the problems in our Federal System. What worked in 1867 in the British North America Act with making "Municipalities Creatures of the Provinces" (See, i did pay attention in class every now and then), doesn't anymore. The radical growth of Cities in the intervening 140 years means that Municipalities, especially the larger ones like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver must have a seat at the table. These places drive our economy, house the majority of our population, and as the recent bridge collapses in Montreal show, are on the verge of collapse from lack of funding for proper infrastructure renewal and expansion.

While i applaud Toronto City Council for doing something, there is more they can do on their own, as well as now being able to go to the Province or the Feds and be able to say they are trying to use the tools they have. I don't know that it will help, but at least they have started making the effort.

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