Oct 01, 2014
By Jane Brown
The controversial land transfer tax received a lot of attention during last night’s Toronto mayoral debate. City Councillor Doug Ford said if he becomes the next mayor, “I’ll tell you friends, I will abolish it. I will abolish 15 percent the first year right off the hop. We budgeted for $320 million. We ended up receiving $350 million. There was a surplus of $30 million.”
Candidates Olivia Chow and John Tory did not commit to doing away with the land transfer tax. In fact, Chow has been campaigning to increase the tax for Toronto residents who purchase homes which are 2 million dollars or more. “We need to have the land transfer tax be a bit more progressive,” Chow explained, “So, I’m saying, in order to fund the downtown subway relief line which is TTC top priority, we need to start the engineering studies right now.”
John Tory said he’s open to discussing ways of getting rid of the land transfer tax, but alternative revenue sources have to be identified first. “We can’t talk about abolishing a tax like this that takes in $350 million until you identify where you’re going to replace that revenue. So I have made no such commitments,” Tory said.
The land transfer tax was brought in when David Miller was Toronto’s mayor. Rob Ford campaigned for mayor in 2010 on a promise to abolish it, but it remains in place.
Last night’s debate was hosted by the Yonge-Bloor-Bay Business Association at St. Andrew’s United Church.