Tax’em till it hurts and then, tax’em alittle more!
He’s at it again. He wants to be Toronto’s next mayor, but at what cost?
On September 21, 2011 rookie City Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St. Paul’s) supported a motion to introduce a “Fixed Fine” of $12.75 for any Parking Ticket where the registered owner of the vehicle ticketed, challenges the parking ticket in court and loses. It passed and Councillor Matlow was happy.
The next thing that made City Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St. Paul’s) happy, is when a motion that he moved to change the by-laws to fine motorists $500 who block traffic by parking in no-parking zones was amended and passed. He wanted to increase the $60 fine to $500. His motion was amended from $500 fine down to $150 fine. He supported this amended motion and new by-law increasing the fine from $60 to $150. This new by-law was passed and became the new by-law on the streets of Toronto on February 6, 2012.
In the fall of 2011, the rookie councillor, who had been on council for less than a year, urged other councillors to support his attempt to have city staff examine the possibility of road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway. His idea at that time was only to charge people from outside of Toronto (mostly 905’ers). He did not manage to grow the support he was looking for and his motion failed.
Councillor Matlow, who isn’t happy until driver’s are unhappy, has renewed his attempt to have council seriously consider road tolls. He wants this idea to be revived again, in less than a year from his first attempt, and to be placed on Toronto City Council’s agenda scheduled for May 8 & 9, 2012. Of course, while they are examining this idea, he also wants them to discuss a “regional sales tax”. He suggests he only wants to place these idea’s on the next city council agenda to ensure that any monies generated from these revenue generating schemes will be dedicated to public transit.
He will present this idea today at a special meeting with other city councillors.
Road tolls are “coming on the horizon,” said Councillor James Pasternak, one of the freshman members of council’s so-called “mighty middle,” whose votes can determine council priorities. “Non-residents would contribute to help support the city’s prosperity.”
Pasternak is one of seven or eight “middle” councillors expected to attend the Thursday gathering, in hopes of helping to set the city’s agenda over what remains of the current term.
“You’ve got a lot of creative energy from new councillors who really want to show progress over the next 2.5 years,” Pasternak said.
Mayor Rob Ford, who scrapped the $60 vehicle registration tax shortly after taking office, has vowed there won’t be any new taxes during his watch, which runs to Dec. 1, 2014.
His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, has been more receptive to seeking new ways to fund transit expansion.
Another revenue-generating idea would be to encourage well-heeled citizens to donate to city initiatives, Pasternak said. And the city could do more to entice corporations to sponsor city programs and purchase naming rights.
“We need to give philanthropists better opportunity to contribute,” Pasternak said. “There has to be an aggressive courting of philanthropists and corporate Toronto.”
The former school trustee also thinks money could be saved through promoting joint facilities with the Toronto District School Board. He envisions libraries and community centres being built alongside schools on common sites. “We could probably overlay more services on both city and TDSB sites through greater co-operation.”
Pasternak also wants to substantially increase arts funding and provide more property tax breaks to seniors.
Rookie Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said she’d like to see the city better promote ways to save energy.
“I’m big on energy efficiency,” McMahon said. “I’ve been on that case since I first came in, talking to the mayor’s office about that, but nothing has really come forward the way I’d like to see.”
Councillor Josh Colle, also serving his first term on council, said customer service needs improvement.
“Just look at the backlogs in the planning area, in the committee of adjustment area,” he said. “Things have to be done about these issues.”
Pursuant to The City of Toronto Act, 2006 the City of Toronto does not have the legal authority to impose road tolls. The City of Toronto Act, 2006 (Bill 53), proclaimed January 1, 2007, sets out a broad, permissive legislative framework for the city. If Josh Matlow wants to seriously entertain the notion of road tolls, consultations (followed by agreements) with other municipalities would have to take place, as well as the Ontario Provincial government. Plans for Toronto “road tolls” could only become a reality with support of the Province of Ontario.