Tax The Rich and Big Business.
Toronto is becoming an increasingly divided city with a wide gap between the wealth of the rich and the poor and middle class. Like many working families who struggle to pay the bills like rent and hydro. This is due to the regressive taxes on which the City of Toronto relies. The City gets most of its taxes through the property tax which is an inherently regressive tax as the average home owner pays the same property tax rate as the wealthy homeowners of Rosedale or Bridle path.
While renters in Kipling towers, homeowners in Rexdale struggle to pay rent or property tax, the corporations to whom owners pay their mortgage and renters pay their rents accumulate growing profits on which they pay less tax and hoard these profits offshore. We need to make these corporations pay their share of taxes to reflect the wealth that they extract from the workers that build this city. Two solutions to offset this tendency is a mansion tax and making large corporations pay a higher rate than the residential property tax rate.
Mansion Tax Now!
The Imposition of a Mansion Tax of slightly higher mill rate for properties valued in the 5-10 million dollar band and those above 10 million dolllars would raise additional revenues to help fixing existing housing stock and the building of public housing units on city owned land. In Vancouver the imposition of such a tax would bring in $170 million dolars a year. In Toronto in a bigger market this would raise 400-500 milion dollars a year.
Tax on Big Business.
Commercial property taxes are calculated at a flat rate like residential property taxes. This is an inherently regressive tax. The large financial and property holding corporations extract huge profits and are able to pay a much higher share of taxes. Their share of taxes relative to those of residential owners has been decreasing since 2005. The recent debate around shifting the tax burden from businesses to residential properties was a red herring. Our problem was not that businesses were disadvantaged compared to homes, it was that small businesses were suffering relative to big businesses and that lower-income homeowners were suffering relative to those with mansions and luxury properties.
We need a progressive property tax system that protects small businesses like neighbourhood stores in Albion Islington BIA and tax large corporations like big box stores and bank towers and large shopping malls. Using the definitions of business size from federal regulations, we propose a progressive tax with a: