COLUMN: We need to fix Toronto without raising taxes or TTC fares [Toronto Sun]

While we beg the province for money every year, we send them nearly one third of our property taxes

Every other councillor running for mayor voted to raise property taxes by 7% this year, and 4.4% the year before.

I did not.

I know that seniors, families and young workers can’t afford one more burden. I’m a carpenter by trade. I like to fix things, not make them worse.

That’s how I approached my job as city councillor for 17 years — fixing flooded basements, getting property tax relief for seniors, bringing the subway north, to name a few.

I am running for mayor because Toronto’s problems are bigger than my ward and I know we can fix them.

Property taxes, user fees, and TTC fares are bills the City of Toronto controls. Right now Torontonians are dealing with rising costs and heavy debt. Even when they work a second job, it’s hard to balance the household budget.

City Hall can’t keep raising their bills.

Toronto’s deficit. Our city had a deficit of roughly $1 billion in 2023. It would take a massive property tax increase just to plug that hole — and that’s not on.

Municipalities are forbidden from carrying a deficit, so once again, we had to go hat in hand to Ottawa and the province. If they don’t come up with the money this time, we risk cuts to services from transit to road maintenance, city parks to garbage collection and everything else. Or higher and higher property taxes.

You know what’s crazy? While we beg the province for money every year, we send them nearly one third of our property taxes. This year we are going to write a $2.2-billion cheque to the government of Ontario.

We simply can’t afford it.

We need a new deal. There’s no sensible reason to fund the provincial government from our property taxes. Smart countries sustain large cities, they don’t bleed them dry. Everyone from left to right knows we need to change this arrangement.

With a stronger financial footing, we’ll be able to make the TTC and the city safer, expand recreation services, fix our streets, and make our roads cleaner.

I know we can fix Toronto. That’s why I’m running for mayor.