Experts Outline Solutions to Toronto’s Revenue Challenge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 6, 2016

Experts Outline Solutions to Toronto’s Revenue Challenge

January 6th, (Toronto, ON) - Whether you look at it from the perspective of economics, community services or city building, experts gathered at City Hall agreed there are concrete steps the City can take to solve its revenue problems and get back on track building a world class city.

“There are clear and accessible options to enable the City to invest millions in key programs like housing, transit and childcare that help this city thrive,” said Sheila Block, Senior Economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario Office. “They just have to act.”

The available revenue tools, including liquor taxes, parking fees, licensing fees and tolls, were outlined in detail by Ms. Block for a packed room of City Councillors, community leaders and media at City Hall today. Ms. Block identified over $440 million in potential revenues that the City has the power to levy now.

“Revenue tools aren’t a pipe dream, it’s not a vague concept, it's a specific menu of options the City has, but has never acted on,” said Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto. “There are clear choices the City can make and the money is there if they want it.”

Community members were quick to voice frustration at the City’s ongoing inability to fund the commitments it makes, from transit to housing. “The City keeps setting goals and missing them, and that has consequences,” said Leila Sarangi, Community Programs Manager at Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke, a women’s shelter and outreach centre. “Service providers rely on City programs to be able to deliver the supports people need.”

Council will debate the 2016 budget over the next two months and community leaders, including the United Way, the Board of Trade, CivicAction and 50 other organizations across Toronto, have called on them to invest $75 million new dollars in poverty reduction this year in a letter published in December.

The revenues to achieve that goal, and many more, are identified in Ms. Block’s paper on revenue tools, Toronto’s Taxing Question, published by CCPA Ontario.

For more information please contact:

Sean Meagher, Executive Director, Social Planning Toronto 416-820-7889, smeagher@socialplanningtoronto.org

Sheila Block, Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario office 416-985-8041, sheila@policyalternatives.ca

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