Proposed Parking Tax Harmful to Business, New Study Shows

Real Estate Coalition releases report detailing harms of parking tax; meets with Transit Tool Blue Ribbon Panel

TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - A real estate and business coalition released a report today detailing how businesses in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) could be the target of an expensive, complicated and unworkable new parking tax. The research report was developed in response to Metrolinx's proposed parking tax as a component of its strategy to finance its planned transit infrastructure. The report clearly outlines the harm to business and negative impact on competitiveness of business from a parking tax.

The research report is being presented today by the coalition to the Ontario Blue Ribbon Panel tasked with investigating how to fund Metrolinx's The Big Move.

The report outlines how the parking tax would significantly increase the operating cost for businesses and non-residential property owners by applying a levy on all off-street, commercial and retail parking spaces. It would be an additional tax on off-street parking and would apply to all businesses, big or small. Metrolinx has claimed the tax will influence the behaviour of motorists, however the study concludes that the cost of the tax will be borne by the business owners and not be transparent to drivers, and will therefore not have any meaningful influence on behaviour.

"The proposed parking tax by Metrolinx is a blow to businesses in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, who already face a number of challenges," says Carolyn Lane, VP, Membership, Marketing & Communications of the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac). "While we support greater investment in public transit, we believe that financing tools should be fair and transparent and not compromise economic growth of the business community in the GTHA."

The report titled Potential Economic Impacts of Proposed Business Parking Levy in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area was prepared by Altus Group Economic Consulting on behalf of a coalition of real estate associations including Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac), Building Owners and Managers Association Toronto (BOMA), International Council Shopping Centers (ICSC), Toronto Financial District Business Improvement Area, NAIOP Greater Toronto Chapter and The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Together, these organizations represent over $200 billion in real property investment and management in the GTHA.

The report demonstrates that the tax structure would be a poor choice for financing public transit investment. It highlights several weaknesses in the proposal including:

  • It is unlikely to reduce the number of cars driving to Toronto and GTHA businesses due to its lack of transparency to individual drivers. The additional costs will be paid by the property owners and  businesses, not drivers;
  • The revenue generated will not meet the Metrolinx target of $350 million;
  • It is double taxation. Property owners already pay property tax and this would be an additional tax;
  • It makes the GTHA economy less competitive because financial resources are focused on paying taxes and not investing in the local economy;
  • Is not transparent to users; and
  • It's costly to administer - Vancouver launched a similar tax and withdrew it because of high administrative costs and limited benefits.

"The Business Parking Levy is a regressive tax that punishes business and reduces competitiveness, which will have a negative impact on the GTHA's economy", added Carolyn Lane.

To view the full report visit the REALpac website at www.realpac.ca > Advocacy > Submissions to Government > 2013

About the Real Property Association of Canada
REALpac is Canada's premier industry association for investment real property leaders. Our mission is to collectively influence public policy, to educate government and the public, and to ensure stable and beneficial real estate capital and property markets in Canada.

REALpac Members currently own in excess of $180 Billion CAD in real estate assets located in the major centres across Canada. Members include real estate investment trusts, publicly traded and large private companies, banks, brokerages, crown corporations, investment dealers, life companies, lenders, and pension funds. To learn more about REALpac visit www.realpac.ca.

About NAIOP - Toronto Chapter
NAIOP is the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed‐use real estate. NAIOP comprises 15,500 members in North America. NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy. For more information, visit www.naiop.org.

The Greater Toronto Chapter of NAIOP, founded in 1977, has become the premier ʺmeeting placeʺ for a diverse and influential mix of the commercial real estate industryʹs top companies and top performers.

About BOMA Toronto
The Building Owners and Managers Association of the Greater Toronto Area (BOMA Toronto) is a not-for-profit organization established in 1917. BOMA Toronto's membership includes over 750 real estate professionals, representing 80 per cent of all commercial and industrial real estate companies in the GTA and beyond. These individuals are all leading building owners, property and facility managers, developers, leasing agents, and service providers. BOMA Toronto helps members ensure tenant satisfaction, maximize profits, and enhance asset values for building owners and investors through market intelligence, education, networking, and government advocacy.

About ICSC - International Council of Shopping Centres
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping centre industry. Its more than 58,000 members in over 90 countries include shopping centre owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping centre councils throughout the world.

About BILD
With more than 1,400 members, BILD, formed through the merger of the Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association and Urban Development Institute/Ontario is the voice of the land development, home building and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area. We are proudly affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders' Associations.

About Toronto Financial District Business Improvement Area
The Toronto Financial District BIA was formed in 2011 with the mandate of promoting economic development in the Financial District. Funding is received through a special levy on commercial real estate within our area. Annual budgets are approved by our membership at an Annual General Meeting and approved by Toronto's City Council. FD BIA is independently managed by a Board of Management comprised of representatives from member organizations.

SOURCE: Real Property Association of Canada

For further information:

Carolyn Lane - VP, Membership, Marketing & Communications, REALpac
416-642-2700

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