A choice is before us. Metro Vancouver’s upcoming transportation referendum is a rare opportunity to significantly enhance transit services, boost local employment and tackle climate change. Metro Vancouver voters are being asked to support a 0.5 percentage point increase to the provincial sales tax (PST), which would raise $2.5 billion over ten years. Together with contributions from federal and provincial governments this means an overall $7.5 billion capital plan for transit and transportation.
Taxes and tax cuts
In mid-March, residents of Metro Vancouver will receive mail ballots giving them a chance to vote in the region’s transit and transportation referendum. Ballots must be returned by mail by May 29. Specifically, Metro Vancouver voters are being asked if they support a 0.5 percentage point increase to the provincial sales tax (officially known as the Congestion Improvement Tax), applied only in the Metro Vancouver region, in order to fund new public transit and transportation infrastructure.
With a new mayor at the helm, the City of Toronto's 2015 budget season is about to begin in earnest. Cue the debate over which services we can't afford to maintain. Cue the debate about how major infrastructure projects will have to wait until senior levels of government pitch in to help. Cue the perennial "we can't afford" to be a great city line of defence. Of course, things could be different. In fact, things in Toronto could be a lot better if the city pursued all of the fiscal tools at its disposal.
This study finds the City of Toronto hasn't been using all of the tax room that it has at its disposal – it's sitting on more than $600 million in untapped potential revenue. Just allowing Toronto property taxes to keep up with inflation and population growth would yield $200 million in additional annual revenue and a set of untapped tax options available under the City of Toronto Act could yield up to $440 million in additional annual revenue.
TORONTO – The City of Toronto hasn't been using all of the tax room that it has at its disposal – it's sitting on more than $600 million in untapped potential revenue, says a study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Ontario office (CCPA-Ontario). Just allowing Toronto property taxes to keep up with inflation and population growth would yield $200 million in additional annual revenue and a set of untapped tax options available under the City of Toronto Act could yield up to $440 million in additional annual revenue, according to the study.
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This paper examines the full weight of neoliberal policies on Ontario municipalities and calls for a new urban deal. As "creatures" of the provincial government, municipalities have far more limited revenue options than do senior levels of government, yet infrastructure and public service pressure on Ontario cities has expanded under neoliberal policies.
Last night several dozen business leaders, politicians and high profile Winnipeggers spent a night at Portage and Main in the annual CEO Sleep Out to raise funds and awareness about poverty and homelessness. However if we as a society are actually going to end homelessness, systemic change is needed.
Lorrie Steeve’s distasteful comments about Aboriginal panhandlers set off a series of responses that reflected badly on many Winnipeggers. The following week’s big story was the murder of Tina Fontaine and the suicide of Faron Hall. There followed a seemingly unrelated Free Press op ed about climate change, and another breaking story about Manitoba’s and Winnipeg’s credit rating. The Free Press presented all these stories, but failed to connect the dots. Doing so is revealing.