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Toronto's new taxes still in question

Vote on new taxes expected to be tight after heavy lobbying

Mayor Miller's plan to impose two new taxes is expected to face a tight vote at Toronto city council next month, as lobbyists fighting the levies make last-ditch efforts at city hall. Saying Toronto needs new sources of revenue to deal with its budget shortfall, Mr. Miller and his executive committee this week endorsed two new taxes: a 2% tax on land purchases and a $60 fee on motor-vehicle registrations.

The levies, made possible with new powers granted to the city by Queen's Park, would come on top of provincial taxes already paid on these transactions. Both the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Canadian Automobile Association have been meeting with city councillors to attack the new taxes, as have other lobbyists.

With the mayor's core conservative critics set to vote against the new taxes, and a list of left-leaning supporters expected to support him on a crucial vote, one lobbyist says he is focusing on council's political centre as the July meeting approaches.

"There's the mushy middle, which we've obviously been trying to go after," said Von Palmer, the Toronto Real Estate Board's government-relations director, who estimated he had met with half of the 44-member council.

"...The question is, can you get enough of those people to make a difference?"

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a vocal conservative critic of Mr. Miller who opposes the new taxes, says the real lobbying is coming from the mayor and his office.

June 27, 2007 in Real Estate Regulations | Permalink

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