Investors: deficit or no deficit, cut that tax, finds CREW poll

That at least is the result of the latest CREW online poll. Of the 81 respondents, about 62 per cent agree it is indeed “fair for investors to ask deficit-heavy Toronto to axe the land-transfer tax.”

The results come on the heels Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s promise to make good on that campaign pledge made more than a year ago.

“I campaigned we’d get rid of it by the end of my term and if we do it in pieces, we’ll do it in pieces, but I’m going to keep my promise,” Rob Ford said druing a recent TV interview. “We’re going to be tackling that (next year).”

Late last year, Toronto Realtors amped up their lobby efforts for repeal of the tax, taking that fight to City Hall. Part of that effort was presentation of  a new survey suggesting public support for axing the tax is relatively strong – even despite the budget crisis.

It suggests as much as 65 per cent of Torontonians continue to support 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.”

The CREW poll suggests real estate investors are less swayed by those kinds of arguments.

Still, 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,” Coun. Joe Mihevc told CREW. “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.

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