[URBAN NOTE] “How Toronto could solve its revenue woes and fight climate change”
NOW Toronto‘s John Cartwright has more suggestions for the city government of Toronto to raise more money, via a parking levy.
The KPMG report on city revenue tools clearly shows one option above all others that makes sense both financially and morally: a commercial parking levy that could raise $171 to $535 million a year with a daily tax of 50 cents to $1.50 for a parking spot. It would be paid by the richest landowners in the city. We’re talking serious money, and the chance to stabilize Toronto’s finances for years to come.
There could be an exemption for small strip malls. They don’t enjoy the same kind of revenue as the big boys – an 18 per cent increase in one year for Yorkdale, 33 per cent for Royal Bank Plaza, 8 per cent for the Eaton Centre and Fairview. You get the picture. That’s why the big commercial landlords have their lobbyists furiously working the halls of 100 Queen West to derail any attempt at this sensible solution. But it really is the only option of the magnitude to provide real investment in Toronto’s future.
We could also claim the income from the hotel levy that Dalton McGuinty denied us in the original City Of Toronto Act. Every other major city derives funds from hotel visits, and Premier Kathleen Wynne has signalled that she’s willing to entertain the idea.
But it alone won’t provide the amount needed for serious work or make up for the loss of land transfer funds when the real estate market cools down.
So let’s focus on fairness and ask those with the most resources to contribute their share to keep Toronto a livable city. For affordable public transit, decent housing, accessible recreation for our youth and services for seniors, everyone needs to pitch in.