Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Royson James looks at TO's Property tax

Royson James of the Toronto Star has had a look at The artificially low tax rates paid by Toronto's residential taxpayer.


and a follow up piece


Below are some quotes from the two......

Toronto homeowners just may be the most pampered, tax-sheltered, spoiled-rotten ratepayers in the GTA.

The owner of a $380,000 home in Pickering pays $4,270, while the Bramptonian pays $3,729 and residents of Markham, Mississauga or Vaughan pay more than $2,922.

Toronto's neighbours wonder how Mayor David Miller can cry poor but refuse to tax Toronto homeowners at rates comparable to their municipal cousins.

Using comfortably tortured logic, Miller gets away with it. First he says Toronto homeowners can't afford higher property taxes so he must find other revenue sources, like the land transfer tax. But when critics say that will dampen the housing market, he argues that Toronto taxes are already low so the new taxes shouldn't hurt.

Apparently, the truth hurts – even where it might be celebrated.

How else to explain the outcry over yesterday's Star story that show property taxes are a sweet little deal for Toronto homeowners, compared with other GTA cities and towns.

A $380,000 home pays $5,745 taxes in Oshawa, $3,729 in Brampton and $2,322 in Toronto, the figures show.

Employing another measure used by each city – the average assessed home – the disparity remains. The average Richmond Hill home at $400,000 pays $3,169; the average Toronto home at $369,300 pays $2,256; and the average Oshawa home at $275,000 pays $4,157, almost twice the Toronto amount.

So all the arguments about small lot, big lot, number of bathrooms, amenities, urban sprawl, densities, cost to provide service, and others don't account for the discrepancy. Pick any benchmark house price and Toronto is low. Take the average home, and Toronto is low.

Setting aside comparisons with other GTA municipalities, the Toronto homeowner pays property taxes at a rate four times lower than Toronto tenants and business. Businesses don't vote and protest and write letters to the editor and cry over every percentage of tax hike; they vote with their feet and leave, if they can.

1 comment:

Nasia said...

You write very well.