Tory announces plan to provide stability for homeowners



    Cap on assessments would stop huge increases that jeopardize people's
    homes

    TORONTO, March 9 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory today
announced a plan to protect Ontario homeowners from runaway property
assessment increases that put some people at risk of losing their homes.
    "The property assessment system in Ontario has spiralled out of control
and is hurting homeowners," said Tory. "Many families worry that skyrocketing
increases to their property assessments may soon leave them unable to afford
to continue living in their own homes."
    Tory and PC Finance Critic Tim Hudak announced the PC plan at the Toronto
home of Gordon and Marian Cook, a retired couple who have experienced a
property assessment increase of more than 37 per cent in the past three years.
Under Dalton McGuinty's current approach, the Cook family could face
skyrocketing property assessments and a huge increase in 2008 after the
election when a McGuinty government freeze ends. Tory's plan would protect
them and other homeowners by:

    
    -   Establishing a five per cent annual cap on property assessment
        increases for as long as an individual owns their home (including if
        a property is transferred to a spouse);
    -   Implementing a new reverse onus appeal system so the Municipal
        Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) will have to justify an
        assessment increase instead of placing the burden of proof on the
        homeowner; and
    -   Ensuring MPAC fully implements the recommendations of the Ombudsman,
        and if the serious problems identified by the Ombudsman have not been
        addressed, shutting down MPAC and building a better model.
    

    Tory also said a PC government will also address rural assessment
inequalities that currently penalize Ontario farmers. The PC policy will
ensure that farmers who are encouraged to have value-added production services
are not subject to unfair property tax assessments.
    "These measures are practical, realistic and fair. They are the result of
real consultations with homeowner groups and they are an important first step
towards giving Ontario's property taxpayers a long overdue break," said Tory.
"This plan stands in stark contrast with Dalton McGuinty's approach which, in
short, has been to do nothing."
    Hudak added: "Seniors, Ontarians on fixed incomes and all homeowners
deserve certainty and stability. They need to know that they can afford to
keep living in their homes and that government will be there to help them.
Unfortunately, in Dalton McGuinty's Ontario this is no longer a certainty."

    For background information please visit: www.ontariopc.com





For further information:

For further information: Brendan Howe, (416) 325-0412

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