Thursday, October 4, 2007

250,000 more people from Toronto now working in the 905?

It would be an interesting exercise to extrapolate how many more people in Toronto must go to work in the 905 region during 2000-2006. Using figures from the Vital Signs report published by the Toronto Community Foundation, it is hard not to conclude that a large portion of the job growth in the 905 region must be filled by Toronto residents. In the 905, the employment base grew by 28% while population grew at 9%. Using historical employment figures (jobs = 50% population), the 905 went from having an employment base of 2,341,448 million in 2000 to 2,973,638 in 2006. This gives an increase of 632,190 jobs in the 905 region. At the same time population grew by 430,252 persons. Again using the 50% historical average that means that 417,064 (632,190-(432,252*50%)) of those jobs must have been filled by people living outside of the 905 region. I think that it would be a fair assumption that more than half of those were filled from Toronto.

Until Toronto reverses this exodus it will continue to find itself in a worsening position, as the commercial / industrial base is what subsidises the residential base.

On the other hand maybe people in the 905 region have to work two jobs in order to pay the much higher property tax which is a result of getting $2,100 per household less per year and those In Toronto.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Toronto - Can will kill the Golden Goose faster?

Currently, commercial / industrial property taxes, being the highest in North America, have chased away development and jobs, how does the city react?

Lip service.
Despite the cities Enhancing Toronto's Business Plan, which limits increases of property taxes to 1/3 of residential increases, look at the cities response.

During consultations, public opinion was that non-residential taxes should be the same to twice that of residential ones and this should be achieved in 1 to fifteen years. The city decided to reduce rates to 2.5 times over fifteen years. Limiting any increases in taxes to the non residential classes to 1/3 of the residential class.

Once Granted new taxing powers by the City of Toronto Act, the first proposed new tax, the Land Transfer Tax, violates that spirit.

It is also easy to find on the cities own website the common refrain that the city needs to be able to access its entire tax base. What that means is that because the province has deemed the cities non residential tax rates as being nearly four times higher than what is considered fair and limited the amount of increases, they still want to increase them more.


commend the Province for softening the cap on commercial and industrial property tax rates and ask the Province to provide all municipalities with full access to the entire property tax base;

The 2002 recommended budget included a potential 4.8 per cent tax increase for 2002 as a result of the provincial requirement that Toronto only apply tax increases to homeowners and not the business tax base. The recommended increase in taxes paid by homeowners would be reduced to 1.7 per cent, less than the rate of inflation, if the City had the ability to look at the commercial/industrial sector when considering an increase in municipal taxes

This must change. We need the province to bring forward changes to allow us to tax the entire tax base. This modest tax increase must not be solely carried on the backs of seniors and fixed income individuals but must also include the billion dollar multi-national corporations that call Toronto home.

The province can change Bill 140 and give Toronto access to the entire tax-base, removing the burden of placing any increases solely on the residential

The city just doesn't get it.

In the context of the previous posting I would like to point out why I think that Toronto just does not understand the source and depths of tis problems.

Toronto's tax policy towards commercial and industrial properties has caused an exodus to the 905 region. As the Vital Signs report (previous post) shows. The 905 region experienced an increase in employment of 27.2% while the population grew by 9.2%. What this shows is that a number of those new jobs must be taken by people outside of the 905 region. Namely Toronto. How does the city reconcile this with it's public transit plans? How do the poor, without cars, likely living in overtaxed rental housing, get to the jobs that the city chased away to the 905 region?

First off , it should be noted that the city has done some research on this issue. A report done by Hemson Consulting on behalf of the city, you really must wonder if they grasp the concepts of economics. One of the comparisons in the report is that of constructing a new office building in Toronto compared to Mississauga. Even though the land cost 55% more in Mississauga (which in itself is indicative of fundamental problems) it is economically unfeasible to build such a office in Toronto while it is in Mississauga. Also it shows that even though Toronto commercial property tax rate is 59% higher, by means of devaluing the assessment, the city only generates 2% more tax revenue. All the while it misses out on the development and other charges which net the city a lot of revenue.

Toronto - Vital Signs Absent

The Toronto Star has just reported on its annual Toronto checkup;
Vital Signs 2007: Toronto's annual checkup .

This really should be a wake-up call for all. Some of the statistics are alarming, such as the ones in here......

Region grows, Toronto stalls


The population of Toronto in 2006 was 2,503,281, up only 0.9 per cent since 2001, far less growth than had been projected.

From 2000 to 2006, the number of jobs in Toronto declined by 1.6 per cent.

Over the past 10 years (1996-2006) natural increase in Toronto's population (birth minus deaths) has fallen by 49 per cent.


The region as a whole is growing in both population and prosperity.

The region is home to 42 per cent of Ontario's population and contributes 47per cent of its gross domestic product.

In 2006, the population of the region was 5,113,149, up 9.2 per cent since 2001 (4,682,897).

From 2000 to 2006 the number of jobs in the region excluding Toronto grew by 27.8 per cent.

The fact that Toronto and the surrounding regions are moving in opposite directions points to poor policy.