City Services need immediate revenue tool, not years down the road
Aging infrastructure, impact of climate change and stretched services are realities faced by Canada’s largest city. The pretense can no longer continue that Toronto is a world class city based on its present revenue. The dream of a refurbished Gardiner, expanded transit routes, revitalized Toronto Community Housing and comprehensive childcare services will need new income streams to become reality.
Toll roads are the controversial choice that cannot be realized for at least three years. The City should be focusing on the commercial parking levy; a revenue source that is within Toronto’s legislative authority and therefore immediately enforceable.
“City revenues need to support immediate services, not just bricks and mortar in some distant future while asking Torontonians to accept cuts in childcare, housing and libraries.” said Maureen O’Reilly, Chair of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council’s Municipal Committee. “A toll may be part of a bigger basket of options, but by itself, it will mean only the rich get to their work on time.”
A 0.1Km2 footprint in downtown Toronto* with approximately 2300 parking spaces will generate just under $500k/yr. if charged the City proposed $0.50/space/day. These are parking spaces that ensure large commercial giants generate record profits. At a city-wide level, a commercial parking levy could raise close to $100 million a year, even with exemptions for small business. There is no doubt that the powerful interests involved are lobbying against this measure. Settling for revenue tools that do not ask a fair share from commercial beneficiaries of our City’s success means that the working people of Toronto will take on the burden of another regressive tax.
It’s clear that the majority of Torontonians want investment in their city if it’s done fairly. To download Labour Council's statement on City of Toronto Finances click here.
The Toronto and York Region Labour Council is a central labour body that combines the strength of over 150 local unions representing 205,000 women and men and who work in every sector of the economy.
* Approximate area of space enclosed by Dundas street on the north, Yonge street on the east, Queen Street on the south and Bay Street on the west.