Here's the story (from the Globe and Mail):
Ottawa's attempt to tax councillors' perks, expense budgets rejected by city
The Canada Revenue Agency is trying to tax Toronto city councillors on benefits ranging from golf and zoo passes to underground parking spaces. And the city is fighting back.Now, unlike with the Toronto City Councillors, the CRA doesn't have to "try" and take these taxes from you and I... They just take it. Why the Toronto City Councillors are above such taxation, and have somewhat of a choice on whether they should have to pay the taxes, sounds like some shady above-the-law policies that need to change...
On Feb. 18, each councillor received a letter from the city's pension, payroll and employment division with the results of a CRA employer compliance audit. Each letter included a figure (some in the thousands of dollars) for taxable benefits related to passes for the Toronto Zoo, Sony Centre, TTC and city garages. It also included councillors' expenses (each has a budget of $53,000 annually) as taxable benefits.
Councillor Joe Mihevc said he's puzzled by the designation. "It's appropriate that we pay our appropriate share of taxes ... I have no problem on that front," he said. "But when you look at the things they want to tax, it seems a bit ridiculous."
I caught Rob Ford on NewsTalk 1010 today talking about this, and he named off a laundry list of "perks" that our Toronto City Councillors receive. Here are the ones I was able to get down while he was talking:
- Free Limo Rides
- Free Taxis
- Free Trips to Exotic Places around the world
- Free Golf on Public Courses
- Free TTC Metropasses
- Free Toronto Zoo passes for them and their families
- Free Shows at the Sony Center for the Performing Arts
- Free Access to Bluejays Games via their Private Box
- Free Camping in Public Parks
- Free Parking all over the city
On top of that, they also get $53,100 tax-free to spend however they choose (this on top of the $1400 a week salary that they get for doing their supposed jobs).
The only Councillor who doesn't use any of these Perks, nor any of the Tax Free $53k, is Councillor Rob Ford. In fact, he's known for actually posting the expenses incurred by all of the Toronto City Councillor's on his website at RobFord.ca - Council Expenses.
It's definitely worth checking out. They have their Expenses for 2008, 2007 and 2006 listed there, with every item noted including the reciept/invoice! Take a look and see where your hard earned and easily spent tax dollars are going, people!! ;)
And by the way, if you check out Rob Ford's expenses, you will see that they actually do amount to $0.
Another by the way for you, Rob Ford posted the results of a Vote where City Council was deciding whether to remove the Free Golfing Perk from their long list of benefits. The vote ended in a tie, 22-22, and the Golfing Perk stayed. Take a look at who decided they wanted to keep the perk (and therefore decided that we the tax payers should be covering their golfing expenses). You won't be surprised to see the following people on that list:
Carroll - Budget Chief!!!
Just to name a few...
Here's a link to the various Council Vote results and who voted for what. Check it out, it's interesting.. Especially given who's saying what in regards to the new Budget, and our Council supposedly having cut off all of the fat...
Also, here's the link for the Toronto City Councillor Salaries and Benefits page on Toronto.ca. There's other useful information there like their expense policies and etc.
http://www.bloorinfo.org/Logos/Toronto-Logo.gif (Toronto City Hall))