Toronto city council rings through road tolls

Dec. 13, 2016

Toronto city council moved for road tolls to be under the jurisdictional ownership of the City, in a historic council vote of 32 – 9 in support of the strategic financial direction under Mayor John Tory. Options for the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway for distance- and time-based pricing will come in a forthcoming report to council. “I am proud of my council colleagues, and the leadership they have shown today,” Tory told reporters after the vote.

Council also endorsed legislative changes for a hotel tax at 4% and for short-term rentals. Councillor Joe Cressy’s motion requested the city manager report back on a recommended tax rate for the short-term rentals of no higher that 10%.

Also passed was a property tax levy of .5% directed to a “City Building Fund” that will go to transit and transportation (a motion by Tory). Councillor Josh Matlow also moved a motion that additional funds from sales tax go to the City Building Fund, but that motion failed at 10 – 32.

In a narrowly won vote of 22 – 19 on an item brought by Councillor Jim Karygiannis, council asked the city manager to consult with the province on an additional land transfer tax of up to 5% of the purchase and/or sale of homes from non-Canadian residents. “Houses are extremely out of reach of our children and Canadians that are working very hard because people are coming from overseas and putting down a million in cash to buy a home. …  A lot of time they’ll leave the property vacant,” Councillor Karygiannis said before the vote to reporters.

Personal vehicle tax, personal income tax, and tolling of the Allen Road were other ideas considered by council but not passed.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti was highly engaged throughout the council meeting, which caused Speaker Frances Nunziata to reprimand him after the councillor and the mayor exchanged some heated words. Councillor Mammoliti joked with reporters earlier in the day, saying, “What’s a council chamber without Mammoliti’s hot air?”