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Easing the Fiscal Restraints: New Revenue Tools in the City of Toronto Act

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  • Enid Slack

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    (Director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Munk Centre for International Studies)

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    Abstract

    This paper show that there is a mismatch between the expenditure responsibilities that the City of Toronto is required to undertake and the revenue tools available to it. Toronto relies mainly on property taxes, user fees, and intergovernmental transfers to finance a wide range of services. In the absence of a realignment of service responsibilities (in particular, uploading social services and social housing to the provincial level), the paper makes the case for a mix of taxes at the local level. A mix of taxes, particularly taxes that grow with the economy, would give the city more flexibility to respond to local conditions such as changes in the economy, evolving demographics, and expenditure needs. A mix of taxes would be more effective than the property at linking the costs and benefits of services when people commute to work from one jurisdiction to another. Although the city should piggyback onto existing provincial taxes to minimize administrative costs, it is argued that it should set its own tax rates to ensure autonomy, accountability, and predictability of revenues.

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    File URL: http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/iib/ITP0507.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto in its series International Tax Program Papers with number 0507.

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    Length: 23 Pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ttp:itpwps:0507

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    Keywords: urban finance; local taxation;

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    1. Richard M. Bird & Thomas A. Wilson, 2003. "A Tax Strategy for Ontario," International Tax Program Papers, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto 0407, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Apr 2004.
    2. Kitchen, H.M. & Slack, E., 1993. "Business Property Taxation," Papers, Queen's at Kingston - School of Policy Studies 93-24, Queen's at Kingston - School of Policy Studies.
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