Coalition: Cut Away Or Expect Big Tax Hike

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While many people in Toronto are crying foul about any kind of service cuts or reductions to help the city meet its budget shortfall next year, a taxpayer lobby group says cut away or expect a huge tax hike in 2012.

The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition says if no cuts are made, a 34 per cent property tax hike and 10 per cent rent increase would be required to balance out the city’s budget.

“We’d like to point out the consequences to city councillors, to the mayor, to the public at large who haven’t actually thought about this number. This is the implication of keeping on as we’ve been going for the past number of years,” Coalition president Matthew McGuire tells Newstalk 1010.

Budget chief Mike Del Grande says, “If they want to repeat what I’ve been saying, they’re more than happy to repeat it.

Referring to the deputants who spoke at a 22-hour long marathon executive committee to criticize any cuts, Del Grande adds, “I view it as atomic amnesia. It’s fine to say ‘don’t touch this and don’t touch that.’ But nobody’s talking about how to deal with the shortfall that we’re facing.”

The coalition has been pushing councillors to contract out services and trim down staff levels.

McGuire says while hundreds showed up to the marathon meeting criticize cuts, “The silent majority expect city council to carry out their mandate for change from the David Miller years.”

“It’s a ticking tax time bomb,” McGuire says in a news release.

On Newstalk 1010′s The City, councilor Shelley Carrol said McGuire’s math is way off “and saying 34 percent that’s just coo-koo. A one percent property tax increase nets you 80 (million), so we’re at about a 5 percent property tax increase.”

But that’s if you go by Carrol’s budget deficit number. She says city hall’s debt is only about 400 million and not closer to 800 million dollars like Mayor Rob Ford, budget chief Mike Del Grande, and city manager Joe Penachetti say it is.

McGuire and the Toronto Taxpayers Association began with a starting deficit figure of 774 million dollars.

http://www.newstalk1010.com/News/localnews/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10270368

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