News   Feb 23, 2024
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News   Feb 23, 2024
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News   Feb 23, 2024
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It's 2010. You are elected Mayor of Toronto.

Raise property taxes by 3% in 2010, increase the now eliminated vehicle registration tax by 7%, increase the land transfer tax by 5%, additional 5¢ gas tax for city infrastructure projects, toll all City highways at point of entry, re-evaluate all older building stock and decide what should be designated heritage then inspect all heritage properties and demand restoration (where necessary) with generous tax incentives/grants to faithfully restore the structures and frontages to modern standards, accelerate transit city plus a subway/LRT for Queen Street, streetcar links to Cherry Beach and Sunnyside Beach from the King/Queen subway line, modernize/expand the Ferry Docks to move more people traffic and add two additional ferries during summer months, close key neighbourhood streets in July and August for summer festivals (i.e. Kensington Market - Augusta Ave), agri-highrises for year 'round growing of local produce, repeal the 200metre dance club bylaw on a case-by-case basis that will be carefully studied, create the largest truly separated bike lane network on the continent (with true separated lanes using concrete barriers) along every 2nd or third major east-west and north-south downtown street within two years then expand the network to the suburbs over the next three years, more small affordable housing low-rises and co-operatives sprinkled throughout the city, continue and enhance waterfront beautification with added attractions to bring people down to the lake, all mid-rises/high-rises must go through an intensive arcitecutal competition to encourage unique landmark buildings, wind farms off the lakeshore, encourage business into the city through generous tax breaks and lower business taxes, buy 10 Dundas E. and tear it down once AMC's lease is up then sell the property to a respectable developer to repeat the exercise but this time with highrise office/condos/hotel on top and redevelop the corner properly, combine parts of the CNE lands with Ontario Place to create a high quality downtown amusement park that has functional indoor spaces during winter months while retaining but re-purposing all of Zeidler's structures - provide a direct LRT link from Union station to Ontario Place. Continuing an aggressive plan for rapid public transit growth and cycling infrastructure is the future of the city and must be a high priority, the streets and highways of the city are at capacity.

So what, I dream. I'd never get elected!
 
Negotiate a new deal with the province to help alleviate the burden on taxpayers in the city. This city needs a lot of investment in infrastructure, and there is no way the amount of improvement we need can be shouldered by our residents alone.

We need a mayor who is willing to sit down to listen to both drivers and cyclists and take both into account. I would reinstate the vehicle registration tax, but at the same time offer a discount on metropasses for drivers who have to pay the tax. For cyclists, I would create a network on bike lanes that would allow cyclists to travel across the city, as well as create lanes on the most heavily trafficked roads to accommodate cyclists.

I think the best way of dealing with drivers is by turning them into transit users. Offer rebates to 905'ers on metropasses in exchange for provincial funding to back the program, while at the same time investing heavily in the TTC. I would also love some kind of express transit system to rapidly bring commuters from the 905 into the core to alleviate the burden on the subway system. Perhaps dedicated LRT only lanes which would be in effect during rush hours. TTC stations would also be renovated and beautified. Even cosmetic changes will make quite an impact when the prevailing attitude among drivers is "the ttc is a dirty, smelly place."

I would also reduce small business taxes in the city and offer incentives to bring these businesses back to the suburbs. The amount of empty stores in the suburbs is depressing, and it needs to change.

I think most of all what the city needs is a new attitude, and that has to come from the top. We can't afford partisan bickering, because all it does is hold us back. A truly great mayor is a mediator who is willing to compromise and talk with all involved to achieve his goals.

The idea of running on relying on upper levels of government is a tough one, however, I think if it were to be given a mandate by the city's residents it would be hard to ignore. Investment for the future.
 
Raise property taxes by 3% in 2010, increase the now eliminated vehicle registration tax by 7%, increase the land transfer tax by 5%, additional 5¢ gas tax for city infrastructure projects, toll all City highways at point of entry, re-evaluate all older building stock and decide what should be designated heritage then inspect all heritage properties and demand restoration (where necessary) with generous tax incentives/grants to faithfully restore the structures and frontages to modern standards, accelerate transit city plus a subway/LRT for Queen Street, streetcar links to Cherry Beach and Sunnyside Beach from the King/Queen subway line, modernize/expand the Ferry Docks to move more people traffic and add two additional ferries during summer months, close key neighbourhood streets in July and August for summer festivals (i.e. Kensington Market - Augusta Ave), agri-highrises for year 'round growing of local produce, repeal the 200metre dance club bylaw on a case-by-case basis that will be carefully studied, create the largest truly separated bike lane network on the continent (with true separated lanes using concrete barriers) along every 2nd or third major east-west and north-south downtown street within two years then expand the network to the suburbs over the next three years, more small affordable housing low-rises and co-operatives sprinkled throughout the city, continue and enhance waterfront beautification with added attractions to bring people down to the lake, all mid-rises/high-rises must go through an intensive arcitecutal competition to encourage unique landmark buildings, wind farms off the lakeshore, encourage business into the city through generous tax breaks and lower business taxes, buy 10 Dundas E. and tear it down once AMC's lease is up then sell the property to a respectable developer to repeat the exercise but this time with highrise office/condos/hotel on top and redevelop the corner properly, combine parts of the CNE lands with Ontario Place to create a high quality downtown amusement park that has functional indoor spaces during winter months while retaining but re-purposing all of Zeidler's structures - provide a direct LRT link from Union station to Ontario Place. Continuing an aggressive plan for rapid public transit growth and cycling infrastructure is the future of the city and must be a high priority, the streets and highways of the city are at capacity.

So what, I dream. I'd never get elected!

Not bad, but I'm not sure how the public would react to tearing down a relatively new building just to put up a 'nicer' looking one.
 
Scrap the Eglinton and Finch LRT's in favour of a subway along these streets. Begin work on a Downtown Relief Line stretching from Dundas West to Pape. Implement road tolls/congestion charge that will help pay for the subways, 50% of which will go towards road improvements while the other half goes towards transit improvements.

Reduce Councillor expenses as well as salaries for city staff.

Change the strategy behind the vehicle registration fee. Larger vehicles like hummers and SUV's will pay more, upwards of $100. Smaller vehicles like smart cars or hybrids will pay upwards of $30.

Make pet licensing voluntary. If you want the service, you can pay for it, but nobody should be forced to do so. The enforcement of the fee alone takes up all the revenue it brings in; make it voluntary and eliminate that enforcement.

Freeze hiring for police officers as crime is decreasing.

Invest in separated bicycle lanes where appropriate.

Stricter standards for the upkeep of heritage buildings.

Pedestrianize Kensington and St. Lawrence Markets.

Beautify the Gardiner expressway by encouraging art installations below the hulking mass of concrete.

Reduce condominium development on the waterfront in favour of parks and promenades.

Negotiate the freezing of TTC fares for 2 years.

Invest in affordable housing and tower renewal initiatives.

Eliminate all tagging, but come up with a database that identifies legally commissioned artwork and murals.
 
Raise property taxes by 3% in 2010, increase the now eliminated vehicle registration tax by 7%, increase the land transfer tax by 5%, additional 5¢ gas tax for city infrastructure projects, toll all City highways at point of entry...

8 years of this mentality is precisely what got Rob Ford elected in the first place. With all due respect, how many of these additional tax ideas would directly affect you?

I believe that taxation should affect all people equally. Accordingly, my favourite types of taxes are income tax, sales tax, and property tax because EVERYONE has to pay them. I do support raising property taxes by 3%, but would also suggest raising HST back to 15% and either raising income taxes across the board, or paring back personal exemptions.

To put a traget on Toronto residents and charge them vehicle registration tax, land transfer tax, tolls to enter our own city, and higher gas prices is beyond unfair. What's even more unfair is that certain demographic groups get a free ride entirely, while others are directly affected by every single one of those measures.

Again, I believe that not only should we all pay taxes, but we should all pay more taxes. However, I do not support taxation strategies which cause some to pay and others not.
 
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8 years of this mentality is precisely what got Rob Ford elected in the first place. With all due respect, how many of these additional tax ideas would directly affect you?

I believe that taxation should affect all people equally. Accordingly, my favourite types of taxes are income tax, sales tax, and property tax because EVERYONE has to pay them. I do support raising property taxes by 3%, but would also suggest raising HST back to 15% and either raising income taxes across the board, or paring back personal exemptions.

To put a traget on Toronto residents and charge them vehicle registration tax, land transfer tax, tolls to enter our own city, and higher gas prices is beyond unfair. What's even more unfair is that certain demographic groups get a free ride entirely, while others are directly affected by every single one of those measures.

I agree. But we have a reveune problem. A budget of 9.3 bllion but non tax revenure of 5.7 billion.
 
Not bad, but I'm not sure how the public would react to tearing down a relatively new building just to put up a 'nicer' looking one.

The City buys it, manages it while presumably making a profit until leases expire then sells it off at a profit to a group of developers who will demolish and rebuild it with a bold vision. They could even snap up the former Empress property and incorporate that into the new development. I like the mix of shops, retail and cinemas here but the building is a mess. It's greatly dysfunctional inside too, so I took that into account. The biggest mistake IMO was that nothing was built above, a huge lost opportunity for a grand office, condo and/or hotel tower.
 
8 years of this mentality is precisely what got Rob Ford elected in the first place. With all due respect, how many of these additional tax ideas would directly affect you?

Some. I chose to get out of the condo game in 2002 so now I rent and rental buildings are highly taxed which is reflected in my rent which is almost double what my mortgage was 9 years ago. I made lifestyle changes including selling my car in the mid 1990's and never regretted it for a minute. When I needed a car, I rented one. Today I use Zipcar so I'd pay tolls when I visit my family up north & the increased gas tax.
For those who commute into the city from the suburbs, the 905 or beyond there is the option of improved public transit, driving and parking then taking GO into the city to save on gas, tolls and high downtown parking rates. I believe that our whole way of thinking on how we commute in and out of of our major Canadian cities has to be turned upside down this century for us to move forward. However, local and regional transit must be improved first so that our cities move efficiently and to make these modes of transit a pleasant, efficient & workable option for most people.
 
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10 cent gas tax, reinstate the vehicle registration tax, toll the highways, and work on rapid transit from the suburbs to the core, bring down our embarassingly long average commute time, people should be able to get to work downtown from the 905 in half the ime they do now. also work on planning more subways and lrts connecting our inner and out suburbs, oh and road beautification e.g. planting trees widening sidewalks. little things to make people want to bike or walk to work. redeveloping the portlands would be another little project i would start
 
Briefly, and speaking only fiscally, I'd have kept the VRT though with a promise to review it by the middle of term. I'd have applied only a small amount of the surplus to the 2011 budget, keeping the result in reserves to ensure the 2012 budget balances without too much effort. This avoids the kind of messy debates we're seeing now.

Then I would have instructed the Budget Committee to begin work on a three-year plan to tackle the city's structural deficit by 2013. This would be accomplished by a mix of program efficiencies, revenues from property sales applied to the city's debt, and -- most critically -- a comprehensive intergovernmental strategy implemented in concert with other municipalities.
 
Taxation:
- Reduce or eliminate VRF while increasing residential property taxes to maintain a balanced budget.
- Reduce business property taxes to make them more competitive with surrounding municipalities.
- Lobby the province to allow different tax rates for different parts of the city.
- Reduce and eliminate the Land Transfer Tax in second term.
- Increase bag fee to 25 cents and collect the revenue generated.

Transportation - Public:
- Keep the Sheppard LRT, but adjust stop spacing to approximately 800-1000 meters. Also commence study on ways to convert the Sheppard subway into an extension of the LRT, begin work in second term.
- Move Finch LRT into the hydro corridor, also widen stop spacing.
- Have Eglinton LRT operate in greenway along the avenue in the west end, underground through midtown, and a mix of underground, elevated, and surface ROW in the east end. Also replace the SRT with the Eglinton LRT. Widen and adjust stop spacing where appropriate
- Implement Presto card. Create fare zones, but also allow up to 2 hour transfers and bring Metropass rates in line with Presto and token fares.
- Buy articulated bueses, and even sell/trade some of the older low floor buses to allow the purchase of even more artics.
- Downtown relief: Bring back the moving walkways at Spadina to encourage some people to transfer there rather than at St. George. Begin construction of a monorail between Queen and Pape Stations, underground at the end stations but elevated elsewhere along the route. To be completed by the end of second term. Second leg between Queen and Dundas West to be begin during the second term, finish by the end of the third term.

Transportation - Roads:
- Widen the southbound DVP to 5 lanes between the 401 and York Mills, 4 between York Mills and Eglinton. Northbound 4 lanes between Eglinton and the 401.
- Implement bike lanes along King and Queen Streets through downtown, put up signs along these streets informing motorists that they are designed for local traffic only.
- Along most major and intermediate roads throughout the city, implement bike lanes where possible. If the road is not wide enough, simply lay markers.
- Change most carpool lanes to only 2 occupants, but have them operate all day rather than just peak hours.
- Begin study on converting Yonge and Bay Streets into one-way roads. Study would look at its effects on traffic and pedestrian activity along these streets. If it is shown that pedestrian activity would not suffer, begin and complete transformation by end of first or beginning of second term.

Land use:
- Rebuild Scarborough City Centre into a pedestrian friendly and mixed use environment.
- Construct mixed-use mini-cores throughout all areas of the city.
- Look at ways to create urban farming jobs in the industrial areas throughout the city.

Other:
- Fire police chief Bill Blair for his poor performance during and following the G20.
- Merge some wards around the city, where appropriate.
- Look at places with a high density of public services for the population served, and merge them to improve efficiencies.
 
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Why would anyone seriously consider getting rid of the Land Transfer Tax? Are you a real estate agent or a speculator?

The only tweaks I'd make to the LTT would be to increase the value exemption for first-time buyers to $450,000 and to develop a formula to see that exemption automatically rise—and fall, I guess—with the market.

The LTT just seems like a great offset to property taxes to me. Can't understand why anyone would want to get rid of it.
 
Jeepers, I'm glad none of you are mayor. All I'm reading is list after list of tax increases and spending increases. Besides, before any of you spend your new windfalls on grandiose transportation schemes I'd recommend first fixing our infrastructure, sewers, water mains, etc.
 

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