Doug Ford promises 15% cut to Municipal Land Transfer Tax

Doug Ford says he'll cut 15 per cent from the Municipal Land Transfer Tax each year for four years if he's elected mayor, while his two most high-profile opponents have no plans to trim it.

Cut would represent about $50 million in annual revenue

Toronto mayoral Candidate Doug Ford says the Municipal Land Transfer Tax is an unfair tax that is hurting the city's economy. (Jamie Strashn/CBC)

Doug Ford says he'll cut 15 per cent from the Municipal Land Transfer Tax each year for four years if he's elected mayor, while his two most high-profile opponents have no plans to trim it.

Ford made the announcement Wednesday after a meeting with the Toronto Real Estate Board. He said the tax, which earns the city more than $300 million a year in revenue, is unfair and hurts Toronto's housing market.

The cut Ford is proposing represents about $50 million in annual revenue to the city.

Ford said he would offset the lost revenue with money saved by contracting out garbage on the east side of the city. His eventual goal would be the complete removal of the tax, which is charged to anyone who buys a home or business in the city.

Ford said the MLTT is an "unfair tax" that hurts the economy and the city's housing market.

On a house with a sale price of $500,000, the purchaser would pay $5,725 to the city.

John Tory told reporters that he doesn't think the tax can be trimmed at this time, as the city relies on its revenues.

"It can't be cut right now, in my view, because there's $350 million that comes from it that is paying for much-needed services, including public transit and all manner of other things," he said.

"You'd obviously like to look at reducing any tax you can, but you've got to be able to figure out where you're going to get the money from before you make a promise like that."

Olivia Chow said she does not support "phasing out" the land-transfer tax, while reiterating her call to make the tax "even more progressive" by increasing it by one per cent on transactions over $2 million.

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