Toronto City Council facing land transfer tax revolt



    TORONTO, June 25 /CNW/ - If the flood of e-mails to the Building Industry
and Land Development Association (BILD) is any indication, then Mayor David
Miller and Toronto City Council may be facing a tax revolt, not to mention
trouble at re-election time, Bob Finnigan, President of BILD said today.
    Finnigan noted that his editorial column in the week-end newspaper
sparked a flood of e-mails in vehement opposition to the land transfer tax.
Although the editorial took issue with the impact of the tax on housing
affordability and its potential contribution to urban sprawl, the majority of
the respondents are expressing their anger with the City's lack of fiscal
control.
    One homeowner likened the tax to a fine for buying in Toronto while
several decried the City's inability to live within its means. A few
respondents even pined for the return of Mel Lastman.
    "We heard from first-time buyers to retirees and everyone in between, and
they are all incensed. Reading the comments, I was reminded of the 1976 movie
Network - these individuals are mad as hell and they're not going to take it
anymore," said Finnigan.
    For his own part, Finnigan reiterated his opposition to the tax based on
its impact on housing affordability and its contribution to urban sprawl. "The
land transfer tax proponents give short shrift to housing affordability,
choosing to believe that the tax will be magically absorbed. The inconvenient
truth of the matter is that this tax is paid by homebuyers as an adjustment on
closing so the only ones taking the hit will be the buyers themselves," said
Finnigan.
    "The sad irony is that the City of Toronto land transfer tax runs
completely contrary to the Province's efforts to curb urban sprawl. People
will drive across town to save a few cents on gas, so if anyone thinks they
won't cross a regional border to save more than $4,000 (incremental land
transfer tax on an average MLS), they are dreaming in technicolour," Finnigan
concluded.

    With more than 1,500 members, BILD, formed through the merger of the
Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association and Urban Development
Institute/Ontario is the voice of the residential 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.

    
                   RESIDENTS' FEEDBACK ON LAND TRANSFER TAX
    

    "It is time for the Mayor and the City to start managing the city more
effectively rather than running to the residents and businesses for more and
more revenue."

    "Why has it become so much more expensive to run the city that we need
new revenue sources? Shouldn't that question be answered first? What extra is
the city doing for us that requires more tax? If there is anything new that
the city is doing for us, did we ask for it, and is it something that's
actually useful or an improvement to our daily lives?"

    "I am very concerned by the decision to implement this or any other city
imposed tax, especially by a group that continually demonstrates their
inability to control their finances. Internal control has never been a strong
point and is in my opinion the single biggest problem we have, not lack of
money but lack of effort trying to live within our means."

    "The proposed tax is a blatant tax grab and a really stupid idea. In
Canada it seems it is too easy to do.....NOTHING! We are certainly over taxed
in this country and it is time we all stood up and were counted. This tax will
impose hardship on first time homebuyers, seniors and young families trying to
establish themselves. The next time I can use the ballot box to protest this
tax will be this fall ... I will have to vote against Dalton's liberals ...
giving Miller and his ilk new taxation powers is the equivalent of giving an
alcoholic the key to a liquor cabinet."

    "Why do the taxpayers get nailed with the government's inefficiency??? If
this proposed tax goes through, we will move outside the city boundaries to
avoid the tax. We will then pay our taxes to another city. At least they'll be
fair. We expect to pay home taxes each year as homeowners BUT not a "fine" for
buying a home in Toronto."

    "Thanks for the great article on the proposed new land transfer tax. The
ineptness of the leadership at City Hall is mind-boggling. It's really
frustrating for those of us who didn't vote for Miller. I really miss Mel!!"

    "I am in the market for a new house in Toronto, and I am thoroughly
annoyed about the amount of money I'll have to pay to the existing provincial
land transfer tax - a pure cash grab that does absolutely nothing to benefit
my move. And now, at the prospect of having to pay a second, pointless, land
transfer tax, I am absolutely appalled. How can anyone, even a politician,
think that this is acceptable?"

    "Let's not forget that not only Miller is to blame for this potential
tax. McGuinty made it possible for Miller to consider it, after years of being
nagged by Miller for more money that McGuinty always claimed was never there
and that he's now spending on votes."





For further information:

For further information: Cynthia Malagerio, Manager of Communications,
(416) 391-3450 or (416) 951-4081, communications@bildgta.ca; Stephen Dupuis,
Chief Executive Officer, (416) 391-3453 or (416) 948-8654, sdupuis@bildgta.ca


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