Getting Toronto Back on Track: The Proposed 2024 Budget

Over the last week, I have heard from many constituents about the City’s proposed 2024 budget. I wanted to address the concerns I have heard regarding the property tax rate increase as I can understand the anxiety this has caused. 

 

Over the last week, I have heard from many constituents about the City’s proposed 2024 budget. I wanted to address the concerns I have heard regarding the property tax rate increase as I can understand the anxiety this has caused. 

 

Why is the tax rate increasing by so much and what will the funds be used for? 

It is important to acknowledge that the proposed 10.5% increase stems from a federal government relenting on their responsibility to the city, and the city’s previous budgets and councils prioritizing minimal tax hikes despite our financial needs. Nearly 12 years of at or below-inflation budgets have meant the city has had to make cuts to vital services. We have all experienced the impacts – from the overflowing garbage cans to long hold times when calling 911 and overcrowded trains and streetcars. 

While I understand that this increase isn’t ideal, it is necessary. We cannot continue to do what we’ve always done and expect a different outcome. The projected budget shortfall of nearly $1.8 billion in 2024 necessitates a comprehensive approach to safeguard the city's well-being, protect core services and make investments in transit, shelters, and community safety. 

This year's budget prioritizes critical operations, investments and initiatives such as the Winter Warming Response Plan, new dedicated shelter beds, the Multi-Tenant Housing Program, and the Homelessness Prevention Program. The City has heard the many concerns about personal safety and are prioritizing safety on the TTC and on the streets through high-visibility staff presence, incident management, and the expansion of the Toronto Community Crisis Service city-wide. Investments in Toronto Fire Services and Paramedic Services staffing, along with the recruitment of 52 new firefighters and 62 new paramedics, are underway to enhance emergency response capabilities. Additionally, resources are allocated to employ additional 911 call takers and dispatchers to underscore our commitment to public safety.

Breaking down the property tax increase  

It is essential to note that the city's property tax rate has remained stagnant for twelve years, falling below the inflation rate and ranking among the lowest in major Canadian cities. The 9% increase to the residential property tax rate is one strategy being used to get the City back on track to a financially stable and sustainable future. 

The additional 1.5 percent increase to the City Building Fund levy supports critical capital investments in transit and housing. In 2019, City Council adopted an increase to the City Building Levy by adding one percent in 2020 and 2021 to the existing 0.5 percent increment and an additional 1.5 percent annually from 2022-2025, inclusively. 

Together, these values make up the 10.5% increase to the overall property tax rate. While this may seem like a drastic increase, it translates to a $374 increase per year for the average assessed value of a Toronto home or a monthly increase of about $35. For multi-residential homes, the property tax rate increase will total just 6% (4.5% increase to the multi-residential property tax rate + the 1.5% increase to the City Building Fund levy). 

Relief Programs 

I understand that this increase in the tax rate may still cause financial stress to some households, especially considering the recent inflated grocery prices and other growing expenses. Fortunately, there are relief programs in place to lessen the burden of these changes. 

The Property Tax Increase Cancellation and Deferral programs allow eligible residents to either exempt themselves from the property tax increase or defer payment. There are also Water and Solid Waste Rebate programs that offer rebates on the water or solid waste portions of utility bills for qualifying residents. You can learn more about these programs here. 

Additionally, in 2021, City Council implemented a new property tax subclass for small business owners which provides eligible businesses with a reduced property tax rate. The 2024 Budget sees the continuation of this program such that the tax rate reduction for eligible properties within the small business subclass is 15 percent of the commercial rate. As the Mayor's Small Business Champion, I strongly support this continued relief for the nearly 30,000 small businesses across the city.

Get Involved

As your representative and a member of the budget committee, I am actively engaging with my colleagues and stakeholders to advocate for a holistic approach that considers the diverse perspectives of our community. If you wish to participate and have your voice heard in the budget process, I encourage residents and businesses to join one of three telephone town halls :

  • Tuesday, January 16, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 17, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 18, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The Budget Committee will also hear speakers in person and by video conference on Monday, January 22, at Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 1, 100 Queen St. W. at the following times:

  • 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • 6 to 9 p.m.

Speakers are asked to register by emailing [email protected] or calling 416-392-4666, indicating a preferred day and time slot before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 19.

You can also leave a comment on Toronto Centre Projects to have your voice heard. 

Thank you for your understanding and engagement during these challenging times. I am committed to keeping you informed as we work to fix what is broken and get Toronto back on track to being a safe, livable and economically thriving city.

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