Last week, Mayor John Tory proposed increasing property taxes for affordable housing and transit investments. Today, Social Planning Toronto sent a thank you letter to Mayor John Tory (full text below).
Call your Councillor and let them know you want them to do the right thing by voting in favour of this investment in our collective well-being at Council's meeting next week!
Dear Mayor Tory,
Social Planning Toronto congratulates you on your proposal to increase property taxes by an additional eight per cent over the next six years, beginning in 2020, to fund $6.6 billion in transit and housing capital infrastructure projects.
Thank you for listening to those of us who’ve been calling for new revenue tools for many, many years. What an important first step towards building a more caring city!
Current populist rhetoric would have Torontonians believe that the City has a “spending problem.” Yet austerity budgets have been the norm for a decade. Per capita spending has dropped by $205 over the past decade.
A 2014 IMFG check-up on the City’s finances concluded that Toronto could not maintain current infrastructure or invest in needed new infrastructure without new sources of revenue. Former City Manager Peter Wallace warned in 2016 that austerity was risky. And Ernst & Young’s “Value-Based Outcomes Review” released last week concluded that “from an overall fiscal management perspective, analysis indicates that expenditure control alone is unlikely to fully address emerging fiscal risk.”
The evidence is crystal clear: Austerity can’t keep our city working, let alone build it, and there aren’t nearly enough efficiencies to get us out of this crisis. We need new revenue sources, and we need them as soon as possible.
On behalf of Social Planning Toronto, I wish to express our strong support for your proposal. We commend you for acknowledging the urgency of the crisis and demonstrating your commitment to affordable housing and transit. We are confident that Council will also do the right thing and choose to invest in our collective well-being, and that Torontonians will support this investment.
This is an important first step, and we hope to work with you and all of City Council to identify and advance revenue tools that are fair, equitable, sufficient, and effective in repairing the cracks that have emerged throughout our most critical social infrastructure after a decade of austerity.
Executive Director, Social Planning Toronto