The Toronto Board of Trade released it's discussion paper The Move Ahead: Funding “The Big Move” yesterday which basically outlined 16 ideas that the BOT has for new revenue streams in the City of Toronto (and Hamilton). These new revenue streams would ideally go towards supporting new Transportation Infrastructure in the GTA aimed at easing Traffic Congestion.
This discussion document can be downloaded at the following link (pdf file):
The Move Ahead: Funding “The Big Move”
I went ahead and pulled the list of ideas from the document and included it here below for your review (along with some comments from the Toronto BOT). For further details on the pros and cons of each idea (as per the BOT), please see the pdf document via the link provided above.
The Move Ahead: Funding “The Big Move
To move ahead with the public discussion that needs to take place on how to fund our region’s future growth and prosperity, the public needs to be armed with information about what the potential revenue tools are and the relative merits of each.
That is the role of The Move Ahead. With this paper, the Board seeks to begin and to lead the discussion everyone — residents, businesses, politicians and candidates — must have on how we will build for our future. In the pages that follow, we have outlined 16 of the revenue tools and one cost saving delivery method that can be employed, providing a description of each, its relative benefits and drawbacks and a selection of examples of where this tool is being used globally. These tools are grouped according to the amount of revenue they are likely to generate (these are broad order-of-magnitude estimates only):
Large: over $1 billion annually
Medium: between $500 million and $1 billion annually
Small: under $500 million annually
Regional Sales Tax
Vehicle Kilometers Travelled (VKT)
Road Pricing - Tolls
Road Pricing - Congestion Pricing
National Transit Strategy
Predictable, Long-Term Senior Government Funding
Employer Payroll Tax
Tax Incremental Financing (TIF)
Land Value Enhancement
High Occupancy Toll
Vehicle Registration Tax
Full-Cost Recovery Transit Fares
"Tax", "Toll", "Levy", "Surcharge", "Pricing", "Fares"... Really, 16 new ways to TAX Torontonians, this is suppose to be insightful and informing? Anybody can come up with new ways to tax people...
I mean, why go with the Toronto Board of Trade when we can go directly to our resident expert on the subject -a close friend of George Smitherman- Premier Dalton McGuinty...
No Toronto Board of Trade, we're not looking for ways to further tax Torontonians, we're looking for ways to generate revenue by NOT taxing Torontonians. We're looking for ways to cut wasteful government spending. And if by some miracle we can cut some taxes along the way, that's what we're looking to do.
Thank goodness at least one of the mayoral candidates understands that, and that candidate - the only one to respond to the report so far - is Rob Ford.
Here's the story from the Toronto Sun:
Transportation scheme will take its toll ...
Let’s talk tolls, Toronto’s Board of Trade says.
And sales taxes, parking taxes, congestion fees, infrastructure bonds and payroll taxes.
All those ideas and several more are detailed with pro and con bullet points on the Board of Trade’s new report — released Wednesday — on how to pay for new transportation infrastructure in the GTA.
“We have to get on with the difficult and unpopular discussion of how to pay for it.”
Congestion is costing Hogtown commuters more than $3 billion a year and easing that heavy traffic would also have a heavy price-tag, at $2 billion a year.
Without endorsing any one proposal, the Board of Trade suggests five ideas that could generate $1 billion a year, and 11 other less lucrative proposals.
They include a $1 tax on non-residential parking spots, a 1% regional sales tax dedicated to transportation, a 10-cent-a-litre gas and diesel tax, a 10-cent-a-kilometre toll on 400-series highways, plus the Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway and the Queen Elizabeth Way and some form of congestion fee, such as the one levied in central London.
Mayoral candidate Rob Ford wasted no time in responding to the report.
“No, no, no and no,” Ford said.
“We have to get the private sector involved, not these new road tolls, these new gas taxes, these new parking taxes.
“I’m not supporting any road tolls, taxes or new fees.”
George Smitherman, the frontrunner in the race, has called for “a mature conversation” about tolls, particularly regional tolls — an idea Mayor David Miller also has supported.
Smitherman will release his transportation platform May 28.
Candidates Giorgio Mammoliti, Rocco Rossi and Joe Pantalone have said no to tolls, while Sarah Thomson has enthusiastically endorsed them.
Ford heroically dismissed the BOT's 16 new tax ideas, and that shouldn't come as a surprise, as his entire campaign has been about cutting wasteful government spending and eliminating taxes.
If Elected, Ford has said that he would cut the number of City Councillors in half to 22, he would privatize garbage collection which would save Toronto $20 Million annually, he would improve the TTC via funding from the private sector, and he would abolish both the Land Transfer Tax and the Vehicle Registration Tax.
In my opinion, these are the kinds of ideas that Toronto needs. And if you notice, none of them involve creating new taxes, fees or tolls.
PS: A few comments on Rob Ford:
Ford backs up his platform with a proven track record of cutting wasteful government spending, and that's why you see various Councillors and Municipal Politicians who appear to be out to get him. As seen with his recent exposing of taxable Councillor Perks and Benefits (Rob Ford Video Shows All Disgraceful Toronto City Councillor Perks!!), Ford isn't afraid of ruffling political feathers in order to save tax payers money.
Ford proudly displays the results of Toronto Council Votes on his website at robford.ca - Councillor Votes, because if you take a look, you'll see that he really is a stickler for not spending tax payer money unnecessarily. If you haven't already reviewed Toronto Council Votes, then you should definitely give it a quick browse. Specifically look at Toronto Councillors who are running for Mayor like Ford, Pantalone and Mammoliti. Also, take a look at Councillors who are running for re-election again in their ward. It's important that you know how your elected representatives are voting on your behalf.
If you're interested, take a look at 16 Critical Toronto City Council Votes, and How your Councillors Voted... for a quick review of some of the more important (in my opinion) recent Council Vote Results. Some quick stats are also included like Councillor attendance and etc.
Screenshot taken from The Move Ahead: Funding “The Big Move” pdf document