Toronto's $13.53B operating budget includes property tax hike

Jan 10 2020, 10:42 am

City of Toronto staff released the 2020 operating and capital budget on Friday, outlining a proposed property tax increase.

According to city staff, the budget includes $13.53 billion for the operating and rate supported budget and $43.46 billion is for the 10-year capital tax and rate supported budget.

Budget documents state that city council approved rate budgets on December 17, 2019.

The 2% property tax increase will cost the average homeowner an additional $61 in 2020, which actually goes up to $106 when adding in the 1.5% increase to the city building levy that was approved by council last month.

If looking at an average house that has an assessed value of $703,232, the 2020 property tax on the home would be $3,141 (includes $61 increase for city operations and $45 increase for the City Building Fund, according to staff.

Staff say that 73% of tax bills pay for public safety, mobility, and city building.

City of Toronto

City documents show the staff recommended Tax Supported Operating Budget is $11.585 billion gross and $4.424 billion net, which it says “preserves existing services, addresses regional pressures, maintains an inflationary residential tax rate increase for City Operations, and includes $67 million in new or enhanced investments.”

The new investments include $15.3 million for poverty reduction, $5.9 million for climate change, $27.8 million for safety initiatives, $9.5 million for transit investments and $8.5 million for other city priorities.

City of Toronto

“With $67 million in new or enhanced investments, this staff-proposed budget does make important investments in key areas that I know our residents want us to invest in including community safety, transit, affordable housing, poverty reduction, and the environment,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement.

“This budget, if approved by city council, will hire 62 new paramedics, more than 300 police officers, and 121 TTC operators. I support investing in our frontline services to help our residents.”

An outline of the operating budget shows that over 21% of the funds come from the provincial and federal governments.

This, Tory said, highlights the importance of forming strong relationships with both.

“I have been able to secure billions of dollars in funding from both governments that, matched with contributions from the city, have helped us invest in transit and housing,” he said.

“I remain committed to continuing those partnerships and working with the other governments to make additional investments in transit and affordable housing in our city, as well as increasing their commitments to community investment.”

City of Toronto

Besides the 2020 operating budget, the 2020-2029 Staff Recommended Capital Plan focuses on investments in transit funding ($13.2 billion), transportation ($4.9 billion), environment ($2.9 billion) and housing ($2.6 billion); and includes increase investments for new capital projects such as redevelopment of Carefree Lodge, park development and community centres, said staff.

The Budget Committee will make its final recommendations on February 4, which will be forwarded to the Executive Committee at its special meeting on February 13, and to city council at its special meeting on February 19.

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