Eliminating Toronto Land Transfer Tax – Scandalous Mayor Rob Ford Populist Publicity Stunt ?

With the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee expected to review a City staff report on options for phasing out the Toronto Land Transfer Tax in coming weeks, a new poll is showing strong public support for eliminating this tax.

New Poll Shows Continued Strong Public Support for Eliminating Toronto Land Transfer Tax

“The public continues to feel strongly that the Land Transfer Tax should be scrapped. Torontonians know that the land transfer tax is bad for our City, and they want City Council to follow through on commitments to phase it out,” said Ann Hannah, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid, between May 10, 2013 and May 22, 2013, and found that,

  • Two-thirds (65%) of Torontonians support plans to eliminate the Toronto Land Transfer Tax;
  • Support for eliminating the land transfer tax with a gradual phase-out approach, as suggested by Mayor Ford, is strong (65%);
  • 90% of recent home buyers feel that they received little or no added value in municipal services for the Land Transfer Tax that they paid to the City;
  • 74% of home buyers in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area say they are more likely to purchase a home outside of Toronto specifically because of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax;
  • 65% of home buyers who currently live in Toronto say they are more likely to leave Toronto, when they purchase their next home, specifically because of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax;

“The Land Transfer Tax has hurt Toronto for long enough. We have been speaking out against this tax for some time and we will keep doing so until City Council takes action. We’re proud of our efforts to stand up for the public and inform them on this issue, and we will keep doing so. The public expects action on this unfair tax before the next municipal election,” said Von Palmer, Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer for TREB.

A study published last fall, by the C.D. Howe Institute, found that the Toronto Land Transfer Tax is directly responsible for dampening home sales in Toronto by 16 percent. This equates to over 5,000 lost housing sales, including condominiums. A separate study, conducted by the Altus Group, determined that every resale housing transaction results in over $40,000 in spinoff spending on things like movers, renovations, furniture, and appliances.

“Home ownership is a worthy goal and City Council should not be making it more difficult to achieve. City Council can, and should, move forward with a responsible phase-out of the Land Transfer Tax,” added Palmer.

For this survey, a sample of 1,012 adults from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed online, of which 606 live in Toronto proper and 406 live in the surrounding 905 region. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls are measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/-3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in the GTA been polled, +/- 4.6 percentage points of all Torontonians, and +/- 5.5 percentage points of all those living in the surrounding areas of the GTA. With regard to prospective homebuyers in the GTA region, the poll is accurate to within +/- 9.3 percentage points of all prospective homebuyers in Toronto proper, and +/- 10.7 percentage points of all prospective homebuyers in the surrounding GTA.

Then we have Rob Ford, who is quite possibly the world’s most scandalous mayor ever, whose is infamous for hardcore drug abuse allegation as suggested by notorious headlines like “Toronto mayor’s aide ‘quizzed over murder of crack cocaine video owner’s death” …

Mayor Rob Ford asks real estate board to help get land transfer tax reduced

Ford wants a 10 per cent cut to start, but many on council say the city can’t afford to do without the lucrative tax.

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By:  City Hall Bureau

Mayor Rob Ford urged Toronto Real Estate Board members on Friday to help him persuade city councillors to start phasing out the “dreaded” municipal land transfer tax.

The tax, which costs buyers of the average home about $10,000, generated $344.5 million for civic coffers in 2012. That was $56.2 million more than projected, due to the higher number and value of homes sold in the city last year.

Ford’s appearance Friday drew a big media contingent wanting to ask about the crack-video scandal, but he entered the Sheraton Centre meeting room by a rear door and left via the kitchen, without speaking to reporters.

In his luncheon address to about 100 people, Ford said he was committed to reducing the tax by 10 per cent, or $34 million, as an initial move toward eliminating the tax altogether.

He had campaigned against the levy when running for mayor in 2010 but hasn’t achieved any reductions. He warned that some city councillors don’t want to give it up.

“I need your help to convince these councillors to start eliminating this land transfer tax. Unfortunately, they’re addicted to spending that land transfer tax, absolutely addicted to it. They want to keep it and they want to keep spending the millions of dollars it brings in.”

Last week at a budget committee meeting, Councillor Adam Vaughan recommended putting this year’s unexpected increase in the tax, or $56.2 million, into housing repairs at the Toronto Community Housing Corp.

“If we are to get at the (repair) backlog, we have to put more resources into public housing,” Vaughan told the committee.

However, committee members refused to put Vaughan’s request to a vote, and the chair, Councillor Frank Di Giorgio, advised Vaughan to make a pitch next month to the executive committee, which is chaired by Ford.

Ford told the realtors he has asked Di Giorgio to put together a tax phase-out plan.

The real estate board understands it’s unrealistic to expect the tax to be eliminated in one fell swoop, said spokesperson Von Palmer.

Palmer said the city has enough financial flexibility to adopt a 10 per cent cut and give up $34 million in revenue next year.

“I think now is a responsible time to start rolling that back,” he said. “It’s unfair. What additional services do you get over and beyond the next person for paying that tax? There’s none.”

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