Surprise surplus confirms need for greater transparency at City Hall: Toronto
Board of Trade

TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - The Toronto Board of Trade called today's surprise additional $100 million surplus "a troubling statement about management of the City's finances."

"The Board has long advocated that the City adopt a more transparent and accountable public budget process," said Board of Trade President and CEO Carol Wilding. "The sudden and substantial increase in the surplus shows that while significant savings in the City's operations can be found, it begs the question as to why, after public budget consultations are complete, critical documents are still being released."

Mayor Miller outlined that $25 million of the $100 million surplus would be used to lower the previously announced tax increases and will keep business property tax increases to less than 1%. Ms. Wilding observes that "this will enable Toronto to return to its long-term plan of achieving regional business property tax competitiveness."

"At face value, today's announcement signals a return to the City's plan toward a more level business property tax playing field across the GTA, which should support job recovery" said Ms. Wilding.

"The Board would like to see business taxes remain in line with Mayor Miller's announcement today," said Ms. Wilding, noting that the City has not yet released updated current value assessment (CVA) figures which heavily impacted business property taxes last year. "Positive or not, we hope that this is the last surprise in this year's budget."

One clear positive outcome from today's announcement is a commitment by the mayor to release a two-year budget, which Ms. Wilding notes is a longstanding request of the Board of Trade.

About the Toronto Board of Trade (www.bot.com)

Founded in 1845, the Toronto Board of Trade is Canada's largest local chamber of commerce, connecting more than 200,000 business professionals and influencers throughout the Toronto region. The Board of Trade fuels the economic, social and cultural vitality of the entire Toronto region by fostering powerful collaborations among business, government, thought leaders and community builders. The Board of Trade plays a vital role in elevating the quality of life and global competitiveness of Canada's largest urban centre.

SOURCE TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE

For further information: For further information: Christina Salvino, Public Affairs Coordinator, Toronto Board of Trade, (416) 862-4513, csalvino@bot.com

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TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE

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