Thanks, Mayor … I Guess

Last night was the big vote for Toronto City Council.

I suppose – as a potential future first-time buyer who doesn’t drive – I should be somewhat grateful, as the land transfer tax was actually modified (thanks, Coun. Grimes).

But truthfully, this still sucks for those who are affected (translation: millions of homeowning drivers … or driving homeowners, take your pick).

On top of which, the land transfer and vehicle registry tax will only generate $175 million in revenue for next year, instead of the $356 million that was forecast. It’s gonna be really interesting to see how this all works, considering there were a few other corners that could’ve been cut to help this cash-strapped city.

For a couple of city columnists’ views, check out Sue-Ann Levy’s slightly snarky debrief and Royson James’s take.

Swinging the Axe

So on October 22, Toronto city hall will vote on whether to cut services and implement new taxes in order to raise more money to pay down the city’s $400 million debt.

Two issues in particular are a $60 fee to register a car or motor vehicle … this is on top of the $74 people already pay to do this.

The other issue – which is the big source of contention – is a land transfer tax, which is music to the ears of whichever councillors are in favour, because of the money this would apparently bring in … but yet another burden on people buying homes. Not to mention a major obstacle for first-time buyers, as well as wannabe first-time buyers like me, who may have to think of coughing up yet another several thousand dollars, in addition to the money being saved towards a downpayment.

Not that I’m a fan or even a reader of the Toronto Sun, but I was alerted to a column by Sue-Ann Levy, who sat down with Coun. Mike Del Grande – who’s a chartered accountant by profession – and poured over the city’s 2006 annual financial report to see if there were any cuts that could feasibly be made, instead of the ones Mayor David Miller is proposing. I think you’ll be able to find it here.

Now, I don’t necessarily agree with everything on this list – and I’m sure neither would any of you – but I do agree that there must be some other places to look for cash before shaking down honest, hardworking taxpayers.

I mean, if a journalist and an accountant councillor can find these, why can’t the mayor?