Toronto Realtors take tax fight to City Hall

"TREB supports the recommended 2012 Budget because it continues the process of bringing fiscal sustainability back to City Hall,” said Richard Silver, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board Tuesday in a written release, “however, while we support the direction of this Budget, we are pointing out that it does not begin the process of fulfilling Mayor Ford's commitment to repeal the Toronto Land Transfer Tax in 2012. This is a commitment that is strongly supported by Torontonians."

 

 

The board will present that “strong” support to a beleaguered Budget Committee Wednesday, sharing its recent online poll of 1,000 city residents.

 

It suggests as much as 65 per cent of Torontonians continue to support Mayor Ford's commitment to repeal the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. That figure drops to 57 per cent when respondents were asked to consider the city’s deficit and “recent efforts to address it.”

 

That backs up Realtor concerns about the tax and its effect on housing activity, which for now remains stable.

 

“Torontonians continue to want fiscal reform at City Hall, including the repeal of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax and concessions from the City's unions,” said Silver.

 

But any move to remove that tax could significantly add to the cost-cutting already threatening to limit access to key services, charge councillors opposed to the move.

“We’re $770 million in the hole,” Mihevc told CREW in September. “And this would add another $300 million. I think it’s got to stay. And you know what? Frankly, I think it’d be better if [TREB] put pressure on the provincial government to remove its share of the land transfer tax. We’re the poor cousin in the family, not them.”

The provincial government and the City of Toronto charge separate land transfer taxes on home purchases. Buyers of a home worth $450,000, for instance, would have to pay roughly $5,500 to the province and $4,700 to the city for a total $10,200 in land transfer taxes.

Ford introduced the idea of ditching the tax during the last election.

 

“I am the only candidate that has put in my platform that I will abolish the land transfer tax as soon as I’m elected,” he said late last year.

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