TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2014 /CNW/ - The Vehicle Registration Fee (VRF) needs to be brought back, says Mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind, and he plans to do it.
The fee itself, a $60 million dollar per year tool identified under the city's 2005 Long Term Fiscal Plan, would serve as a much needed revenue source to increase accessibility for all Torontonians, particularly those using Wheel-Trans and the TTC, and its reinstatement would also be a demonstration of sound leadership.
Goldkind says "Every candidate should know that as increased demand on our infrastructure and social services grows, property taxes are insufficient to address the city's long term needs. We simply do not have the money to get people moving around this city as quickly as they should be able to. It was, and continues to be, imprudent to eliminate over 60 million dollars per year of revenue because of a kneejerk reaction to a poorly explained fee.
"When TTC riders pay 80% of the TTC operating budget, and 60 million dollars goes unreplaced or passed onto lower income residents and called 'user fees', it is sound and fair to ask drivers to contribute a user fee equivalent to one tank of gas for their use of our gridlocked roads.
"I know that many people will not welcome a once abolished fee," Goldkind says, "but pandering to a group of voters is not leadership. While the Top 3 are preoccupied with making promises that cannot be kept, the facts are simple: To move everyone faster, we either raise taxes or we cut spending. It is time to move the dial."
Goldkind's plan would encourage said revenue to be earmarked to immediate transit needs such as enhancing Wheel-Trans service, and ensuring all TTC stations are fully accessible far more quickly.
Of note, the VRF represents a far smaller cost than that paid annually by the average TTC rider. "It is a façade that we are a broke city. We are an all-embracing city at heart," Goldkind says, "and the city belongs to everyone, not just those who can afford luxury SUV's."
Goldkind states that a motion before council for reconsideration of the fee is a demonstration of his commitment to tough, accountable and honest leadership. This is only one piece of Goldkind's investment puzzle, combined with his plan at www.ariformayor.com/plan which involves reconsideration of property tax, the land transfer tax, congestion fees, and capping the police budget.
Goldkind owns a car himself and commutes on the TTC. "No-one likes paying taxes," he says, "but services cost money. Politicians who claim our city can thrive by reducing taxes or keeping taxes at the rate of inflation live in a dreamworld. The idea cannot only be to save money, but to invest it wisely."
"No one likes going to the dentist. But intelligent people understand that is wise and prudent to invest in one's long term health. Investing in our city should be no different."
SOURCE: Ari Goldkind for Mayor
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