As many of you already know, I hosted a town hall tax meeting on Feb. 13 to give taxpayers an opportunity to learn more about this year’s budget, and to have their opinion heard before Council made a decision later that week.
On Jan. 5, I invited Mayor Tory to attend the town hall and speak to taxpayers who – unlike the special interest groups – cannot make it to City Hall during the working day, but deserve to be heard since they are the ones that have to foot the bill.
I can tell you that residents and I are very disappointed that the Mayor chose not to attend an evening meeting in the suburb, despite having been given two months’ notice. The Mayor said that he was ‘too busy’ to listen to hardworking taxpayers – taxpayers who cannot go to City Hall like the lobbyists that go to Executive Committee and demand more of their neighbours’ hard-earned money to fund non-core services.
All these new taxes punish people who work, own homes or drive cars. While residents don’t mind paying their fair share of taxes to fund core City services, they are fed up with having to pay for the endless spending agenda down at City Hall.
Many Torontonians are already forced to make the impossible choice of having to either pay their bills or put food on the table. Life is becoming increasingly unaffordable in Toronto and residents are already having trouble making ends meet.
More than 700 residents of Toronto attended the town hall. The media was there to report on what had happened, and even though Mayor Tory wasn’t there, we got him to answer questions through CP24.
I am disappointed that the Mayor doesn’t think that it is a priority to meet real taxpayers at a time and place that are accessible to them.
I am pleased that the Wynne Government rejected the Tory Toll Tax, and instead provided millions of dollars for Toronto’s transit infrastructure.
Mayor Tory says that he made an honest choice to push forward on tolls – a choice that he will stick with. If Mayor Tory had his way, and if politicians such as myself had not stood up to him and forced this decision from the Premier, Tory’s Toll Tax would have become a reality.
Unfortunately, Toronto City Council voted to support the 2017 budget, which included a total five per cent tax increase ( everything added up) to property bills, which could be up to 13 per cent Current Value Assessment.
Mayor Tory continues to push his selective facts, claiming that it’s just a two per cent tax increase. But that’s just not the case. My office was bombarded with calls from irate residents from across the city, fuming about the city’s reckless spending and Tory Taxes.
The five per cent residential tax increase includes inflation, a 0.5 per cent City Building Fund, increased property value reassessment and regulatory impacts, and increases to water, garbage and other fees.
While Mayor Tory claims that property taxes will only see a modest increase of $90, that doesn’t include the other fees, and only applies for homes assessed at around $500,000. The majority of semis, townhomes and especially single detached are valued at hundreds of thousands more – many worth over a $1 million.
Mayor Tory speaks of courage and unity, but making life increasingly unaffordable for hardworking families is uncourageous and divisive. My message to him is simple: take heed of the Wynne Government’s announcement, and stop making life even harder for our residents.
Ward 7 Councillor
Giorgio Mammoliti(The thoughts expressed here are those of the Councillor and may not necessarily reflect those of the Emery Village Voice)