As homeowners, we've come together to advocate for important changes to the proposed 2023 municipal budget. Read the letter and sign your name to join us!
The City of Toronto’s budget process is underway, with council set to vote on the Mayor’s proposed budget in February. Over the last few years, it has become impossible not to notice the sharp decline in the quality of our city services and infrastructure. As we face an $815 million budget gap, Mayor Tory is planning to further cut funding to some city services and to increase some user fees. At the same time, he plans to increase the Toronto Police Service’s budget by nearly $50 million dollars.
We are a group of homeowners in Toronto who support an increase in property taxes as a way to more equitably fund essential public services, like the TTC and shelters — not to fund police. We are coming together to say that as property owners, we want to pay higher property taxes, beyond even what the Mayor has proposed for 2023, so that we and our neighbours can access the services we all need to thrive in this city.
We believe that the decline in the city’s services is a direct result of decisions that City Council has made over the last decade to keep property tax increases below inflation, while, at the same time, choosing to grow an already bloated police budget.
Last year, Toronto had the lowest property taxes in Ontario. This is baffling in the largest city in the country — a city with an increased need for services, a backlog of essential capital repairs, and unfunded climate commitments. Meanwhile, in 2022, nearly a quarter (23.7%) of our property taxes were spent on policing in our city.
This is the wrong approach.
Property taxes are the most fair and reliable way to fund our municipal public services. Among Torontonians, homeowners are in the best position to pay a little more to cover the necessary costs of running a thriving, inclusive city. Without appropriate taxation, the city turns to user fees, like the recent 10 cent TTC fare hike. This is the most regressive way to pay for services, because it hits our working class neighbours hardest.
We also know that we can’t police our way to safety. Marginalized communities, front-line workers and researchers have long explained: the best way to make our city safe is not to invest in cops, but rather to double-down on poverty reduction strategies by investing heavily in housing, education and other social services.
We are glad to see the Mayor’s proposed property tax increase, but encourage Council to press for a higher rate. As homeowners, we know we’re able to afford more than the proposed $233 average increase. In addition, we urge a reversal in the plan to increase funds for the police. With the additional funds freed up from both measures, we encourage the Mayor and Council to invest in city services that will truly benefit us all.