WATCHDOG: Are rising property taxes a permanent feature of Toronto’s budget
So here we are with another city budget completed and again we are facing a property tax increase, this time at 1.3 per cent.
While this may only amount to roughly $72 per homeowner, property taxes have risen by roughly 60 per cent since 2000, according to the City of Toronto’s own estimate.
This development has to be contrasted with the situation in 1997, before our forced amalgamation, when we were about to see our property taxes decrease due to the fact that we were just about to make the final payment on the East York Civic Centre.
Let’s consider that not only did we have the lowest taxes in all of Metro Toronto, we also had our own dedicated civil service, a fleet of brand new garbage trucks, our own municipal vehicles, eight part-time councillors and our own mayor.
On top of all that we also had the highest rate of satisfaction with the delivery of municipal services in all of Metro Toronto.
So again, what benefits have we really gained through this forced amalgamation, and indeed what have all the other former municipalities gained as well?
It certainly hasn’t been any real decreases in operation costs, for as we know, there are now more civil servants working for the city than before amalgamation.
Likewise, if you think any greater efficiency has been achieved, just look at struggles the city is having organizing its public transportation policies or reigning in the costs of various departments.
There are some who still believe the “promise” of amalgamation can be achieved through more cuts to staff and services, plus more use of privatization.
The truth, however, is everything had been cut to the bone to begin with back in the early 1990s and at this particular point we are really playing a dangerous game of deferring spending money to the point that the city’s infrastructure is in danger of collapsing due to age and neglect.
It’s not just Toronto that is experiencing this increase in property tax with a drop in services; it is being experienced by all of the municipalities in Ontario that were forced to amalgamate during the reign of the provincial Progressive Conservatives under then-premier Mike Harris.
Experts in municipal affairs on both the right and the left of the political spectrum warned Harris not to use amalgamation to save money because it had been proven to not work.
So here we are yet again proving the experts were right. What has been forgotten is that Harris stopped further amalgamations because he himself said there was no real economic benefit in it.
The former borough of East York had the formula to keep property taxes low and the delivery of services high, which was the fact that we had a balanced economy with in an ideal population of 100,000.
Can we ever achieve it again?
Comment by sib If today’s so called governments have changed themselves away from CIVIL authorities through the power of the people into an incorporated structure ( you know what a CORPS is !?!) and we the alive people are not share holders, partners or owners as the legalities clearly show, then please have some competition that we may buy needed service as in a true market economy!
Truth is we the people are kept confined in a legal enclosure through the registration of our birth certificate by our mothers at a moment when mom had other concerns and we the newborns had no ability to object. This is the pivotal moment, a monumental trickery to hijack our life’s value but not understood by most..
This arrangement sees us as SUBJECTS not living souls, natural beings but PERSONS a legal fiction. read Black.s Dictionary of Law