Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Roll-Back Land Transfer Tax Immediately, REALTORS® Tell Councillors

With the City's Executive Committee reviewing the proposed 2008 Operating Budget today, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is calling for City Councillors to immediately begin to fulfill their commitment to roll-back the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, while still keeping property tax increases in check. REALTORS'® input was presented in a detailed written submission to the Executive Committee.
“REALTORS® and the public they serve, have not forgotten about the motion approved by City Council last fall, which committed to rolling back the Land Transfer Tax once the provincial government starts addressing the funding of downloaded services,” said Maureen O'Neill, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). “We believe that recent progress means that the City can, and should begin rolling back the Land Transfer Tax immediately.”
When City Council approved the implementation of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax on October 22, 2007, it also approved a motion committing to reduce the Land Transfer Tax by $50 million once the Province has uploaded 50 per cent of the City's estimate of downloaded costs of $729 million. In its written submission to the City's Executive Committee, TREB pointed out that the City is already in a position to implement the intent of this motion because of :

provincial uploading that has already begun,

further uploading expected later in the spring

provincial funding for operating costs of transit

ongoing provincial funding for infrastructure, which could help reduce debt servicing costs in the operating budget

opportunities available by implementing the recommendations of the Mayor's Fiscal Review Panel.
“Recent progress on uploading and other provincial funding, taken together with even modest implementation of the Mayor's Fiscal Review Panel's recommendations, will reduce pressure on this year's budget by literally hundreds of millions of dollars,” said O'Neill.
TREB also believes that City Council can begin rolling back the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, while keeping property tax increases to the rate of inflation as promised by Mayor Miller.
“The Mayor committed to keeping property tax increases in-line with inflation, but the proposed residential increase is double the rate of inflation,” said O'Neill. “We believe that there is enough flexibility in the 2008 Budget to allow City Council to meet the Mayor's property tax commitment, while also fulfilling the commitment to roll back the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.”
One of the key recommendations in TREB's submission to the City's Executive Committee calls on the City to focus on core services, optimize efficiencies and implement innovative options, consistent with the recommendations of the Mayor's Fiscal Review Panel.
“On numerous occasions, TREB called for an independent review of the City's finances, and we are encouraged by the work of the Mayor's Fiscal Review Panel,” said O'Neill. “It is clear that many of TREB's views regarding fair ways to address the City's financial challenges have been validated by the Panel.”

Copy of TREB's Toronto Budget Submission is available upon request.

Toronto REALTORS® are passionate about their work. They adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service. Serving over 27,000 Members in the Greater Toronto Area, the Toronto Real Estate Board is Canada’s largest real estate board. Greater Toronto Area open house listings are now available on www.TorontoRealEstateBoard.com.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

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