Practical, pragmatic approach best way to help close multi-billion-dollar budget gap, get real...
Mitzie Hunter to lead coalition of big city mayors for “new deal” to secure one point of the HST for all municipalities
Practical, pragmatic game plan best way to help close Toronto’s multi-billion-dollar budget gap, get real results for Toronto
Toronto – Mitzie Hunter as mayor will lead a coalition of big city mayors to secure a point of the existing HST for all municipalities, part of her six-point game plan for working with the Province and federal government to help close Toronto’s multi-billion-dollar budget gap.
Other candidates pretend they can compel the federal and provincial governments to the table to give Toronto a special deal, knowing that it is impossible because it would activate every other large city such as Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver to seek similar treatment.
“There are no special deals for any one city,” says Hunter. “But together there can be a new deal… for all cities.”
Other candidates pretend they have superpowers to compel the federal and provincial governments to a negotiation table, but there will be no negotiation table to go to because there won’t be any negotiations, says Hunter.
“There are no superpowers and there are no ‘one-off’ bailouts to be had to fill Toronto's budget hole or pay for the campaign promises of other candidates.”
In contrast, Hunter is offering a realistic plan to get real results for Toronto.
“The choice is clear: Pointless promises by other candidates or one point of the existing HST that goes a long way to fill Toronto’s multi-billion-dollar budget gap.”
Hunter’s realistic six-point intergovernmental game plan includes:
- Leading a coalition of mayors to secute one point of the HST
- Ending double transit fares
- Securing funding for refugee-related costs
- Building more transit
- Recouping health expenses, and
- Securing equitable federal support for new affordable housing.
“My gameplan for working with the provincial and federal governments is practical, pragmatic, and realistic,” says Hunter. “It is the best approach for getting real results for Toronto.”
There are some areas where Toronto has unique circumstances, and Hunter will be fearless in seeking what we are due. But there are no special Toronto-only deals to be made.
“Olivia Chow wants people to believe she can compel the federal government, with its $40-billion deficit, to a negotiation table to extract billions of dollars to bail out Toronto and ignore Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver,” says Hunter.
“It is easier to believe in flying carpets than believe in this imaginary negotiation table,” says Hunter.
Here’s how Hunter’s intergovernmental game plan works:
Leading a coalition of mayors to secure one point of the HST: Hunter will be the city's champion, and will make sure that Toronto is a leader in bringing together big cities to secure a new deal for all municipalities similar to the successful strategy that led to the Gas Tax Transfers from each government. Hunter will call upon the federal and Ontario governments to dedicate one pointof their existing HST revenue to a new transfer to benefit all cities and communities. This would result in between $805 and $898 million for Toronto.
There are also ways to deliver support that do not involve new transfers or programs. Hunter is calling on the Ontario government to lower its property tax for education to create tax room for municipalities. Even a 50-per-cent reduction in the education property tax could generate over $1 billion for Toronto.
Ending Double Transit Fares: The Province wants a deal to eliminate the two fares paid when transferring to or from the TTC and GO or one of the neighbouring transit systems in Durham, York, Mississauga and Brampton.
This will benefit riders and encourage more people to use transit. But it cannot be done on the back of the TTC which is far and away the most important part of the regional transit network.
Hunter will work with the Province to secure a fair deal for Toronto that fully recognizes the TTC’s central and preeminent role delivering transit in the region.
Building More Transit: Hunter will relentlessly work to secure federal and provincial commitments to fund -- and quickly proceed with -- her transit expansion priorities to accelerate the delivery of the Scarborough Eglinton East LRT, the North-York Scarborough Subway and the East Waterfront LRT.
Recouping Health Expenses: Hunter will seek one-time Provincial compensation for the $101.8 million in 2023 health expenses in long-term care and public health directly caused by efforts to reduce the risk of outbreak of COVID.
Securing Funding for Refugee-Related Costs: Refugee policy is exclusively a federal responsibility, and the Federal government should reimburse Toronto for the $130 million per year we dedicate to servicing refugees. Funding has been provided in previous years and must be provided now and every year that Toronto dedicates resources to address this federal responsibility.
Securing Equitable Federal Support for new Affordable Housing: The CMHC Housing Accelerator Fund has very specific requirements that a city must meet to qualify for funding. None of the housing proposals proposed by any of the candidates meet these requirements. Unlike other candidates, Hunter will not pretend that funding is automatic and instead will work with the federal government to secure equivalent funding.
Hunter’s proposed Toronto Affordable Housing Corporation and plan to build 11,236 affordable rental units – more than any other candidate – would mean a federal capital contribution of almost $517 million. Hunter is also prepared to accept this support from the federal government in the form of an equity investment in the TAHC.
“Unlike other candidates, I will not pretend that getting capital funds for housing or transit will help our city close the $4.3-billion hole in its operating budget between 2023 and 2025,” says Hunter.
“Other candidates are pretending they have some kind of superpower to compel the Province to upload highways and the federal government to give Toronto a special deal with a cheque attached for billions in operating dollars.
“In contrast, I am breaking down the problem and taking a practical and pragmatic approach to solve it with my six-point game plan.
“Magical superpowers or a practical and pragmatic approach. The choice is clear. My plan will Fix the Six. Join me.”
Remarks by Mitzie Hunter announcing her intergovernmental gameplan, June 16, 2023:
- Since the beginning of this campaign I have systematically laid out my priorities.
- More affordable housing, more quickly.
- Unlocking public lands for affordable housing.
- Below-market price housing for renters and buyers.
- Investing more in city services… so the city works better.
- More potholes filled, better snow clearance…
- Enhanced and improved neighbourhood parks.
- More affordable TTC… with seniors and Wheel Trans users to ride free.
- Reversing the TTC fare increase and service cuts.
- Today I am talking about my game plan…
- For working with the Province and federal government…
- To help close Toronto’s multi-billion-dollar budget gap.
- As mayor I will lead a coalition of big city mayors to secure one point of the existing HST…
- To benefit all cities and smaller communities.
- I will make the case for a new deal for all cities…
- To create a new and sustainable funding relationship…
- One that is truly reflective of the responsibilities…
- And taxing capacity… of municipalities both large and small.
- This would mean close to $900 million for Toronto.
- There are also ways to deliver support that do not involve new transfers or programs.
- It’s been done before.
- The same approach led to municipalities receiving a Gas Tax Transfer from both levels of government
- I am also calling on the Ontario government to lower its property tax for education to create tax room for municipalities.
- Even a 50-per-cent reduction in the education property tax…
- Could generate over $1 billion for Toronto.
- Unlike other candidates, I will not pretend that getting capitalfunds for housing or transit…
- Will help our city close the $4.3-billion hole in its operatingbudget between now and 2025.
- My plan is practical… pragmatic… and its the best way to get real results.
- My six-point intergovernmental game plan also includes:
- Ending double transit fares…
- Securing funding for refugee-related costs…
- Building more transit…
- Recouping health expenses… and
- Securing equitable federal support for new affordable housing.
- My gameplan for working with the provincial and federal government is practical… pragmatic…
- And is the best approach… for getting real results for Toronto.
- Other candidates indulge in bashing the federal and provincial governments…
- That approach gets us exactly nowhere.
- My approach earns respect… and gets results.
- As mayor, that will be my approach to intergovernmental relations.
- “Olivia Chow wants people to believe she can compel the federal government, with its $40-billion deficit…
- To a negotiation table to extract billions of dollars to bail out Toronto…
- And ignore Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.
- It is easier to believe in flying carpets than believe in this imaginary negotiation table
- There are no special deals for any one city…
- But together there can be a new deal… for all cities.
- They are suggesting they have some kind of superpower to compel the Province to upload highways…
- And the federal government to give Toronto a special deal…
- With a cheque attached for billions in operating dollars.
- In contrast, I am breaking down the problem…
- I am taking a practical and pragmatic approach to solve it…
- With my six-point game plan.
- Magical superpowers… or a practical and pragmatic approach.
- The choice is clear.
- I am running for mayor because I want to lead Toronto’s revival.
- I have a comprehensive, fully-costed plan…
- To do exactly that.
- I want to Fix the Six.
- So we can have the Toronto that works for everyone
- Join me. Let’s Fix the Six… together.