Rob Ford blasts council over land-transfer tax
Embattled mayor says he simply 'cannot eliminate' the tax
Mayor Rob Ford says he is fed up with city council over its reluctance to trim Toronto's lucrative land-transfer tax.
“We all know we cannot escape the political reality at city hall,” Ford told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. "Unfortunately — it’s very unfortunate — most councillors want to keep this unfair tax and keep spending the millions it brings in."
On Tuesday, Ford said he will support a coming bid by Coun. Frank Di Giorgio, the budget chief, to reduce the Municipal Land Transfer Tax "by five per cent."
Di Giorgio, however, clarified with reporters that his motion will look to amend the tax, so that it is only applied to a portion of the value of a property transaction — rather than the full value, as is currently the case.
The revenue from such a change could be up to five per cent lower than what the city receives under the current arrangement. But Di Giorgio said it would ultimately depend on how the market responds, should his proposal be accepted and come into effect.
"It may be [revenue] neutral at the end of the day because I may generate more sales as a result of the [proposed] tax-policy change," he said.
Ford also admitted Tuesday that he simply "cannot eliminate" the land-transfer tax as he promised voters, which is why he must turn his attention to trying to reduce it.
The mayor currently finds himself on the outside of the budget process, following council’s move to limit his powers amid a drug-related scandal.
That shift has left Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly as the head of the executive committee, of which the mayor is not otherwise a member. Ford is also not a part of the budget committee.
The budget will debated and approved by both the budget and executive committees, with council voting on it at the end of January.
On Tuesday, Ford alluded to the recent changes at city hall, which he again suggested have seen councillors go back to the "old ways."
Ford said he was "extremely, extremely frustrated and disappointed by the mentality at city hall," which he summed up as being "tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend."