Commercial Real Estate Industry Coalition to inform Councillors on impact of new taxes

TORONTO, May 24, 2016 /CNW/ - A coalition of prominent real estate industry groups has formed to participate in the City of Toronto's revenue tools conversation and evaluate upcoming proposals based on their impact on the City's economic competitiveness. The Commercial Real Estate Industry Coalition is being organized by the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac), the Building Owners and Managers Association Toronto (BOMA Toronto), NAIOP Greater Toronto, the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC), the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Financial District BIA.

"Our industry believes that the city should not try to solve a short-term problem with a long-term solution," says Michael Brooks, CEO of REALpac. "The City's own financial modelling shows the existing budget gap is most predominant in 2017 and 2018. Reasonable and broad-based funding can be realized within the existing revenue toolbox without the need to introduce more funding mechanisms."

The Commercial Real Estate Industry Coalition will participate as a stakeholder group in the City of Toronto's consultations toward review of new revenue tools. The coalition's goal will be to ensure any analysis of revenue tools includes a heavy focus on jobs and employment impact. An additional focus of the coalition will be on "inside of government" strategies and ensuring that known efficiencies have been fully studied and pursued prior to adopting new revenue tools. This includes asset optimization, fee-for-service models, integration of long-term financial planning and prevention of further capital commitments beyond budget.

The Coalition contends that potential new revenue tools runs counter to Council's earlier determined goals of improving economic competitiveness through incremental reductions in the commercial-residential tax ratio. 

"The primary lens we use to evaluate revenue tools is whether or not they contribute to the economic competitiveness of our city," says Brooks. "Toronto's commercial properties are already overburdened and businesses in Toronto are already paying significantly higher taxes than they would be if they were located in any of the surrounding 905 municipalities. This is not sustainable, and we need to be especially vigilant of double-taxing businesses for services they're already paying for. That's how we lose businesses to other tax jurisdictions."

SOURCE Real Property Association of Canada

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Brooks Barnett, Manager, Government Relations & Policy, Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac), bbarnett@realpac.ca, 416-642-2700 x224

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