Toronto’s proposed 2022 budget includes biggest property tax increase in John Tory’s tenure

Toronto’s proposed budget for 2022 includes the largest residential tax increase in Mayor John Tory’s tenure as the city faces significant pressure from both rising inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic .

The $ 14.9 billion operating budget was tabled at a meeting of the Toronto budget committee on Thursday morning.

It includes a 2.9% residential tax increase, as well as a 1.5% municipal building tax increase that was approved in 2019.

Staff say that due to the increases, the owner of an average priced home worth $ 697,185 will pay an additional $ 141 in 2022. The property tax bill for an average priced home would be $ 3,339.

The proposed tax rate represents a significant increase from 2021, when the city was able to limit the increase to 0.7%, which was the lowest in Mayor John Tory’s term.

But since then inflation has hit an 18-year high as supply chain disruptions from the pandemic put upward pressure on prices.

Staff say that in preparing for this year’s budget, they faced an initial deficit of $ 583 million strictly due to inflation and growth.

They say the pressure then rose to $ 2 billion once the predicted impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022 were factored in.

The budget, as proposed, is balanced on the basis of approximately $ 1.4 billion in funding from the federal and provincial governments to cover costs associated with the pandemic.

This money, however, has not yet been secured.

Staff say they also expect financial pressures of $ 1.3 billion to $ 1.7 billion from the pandemic in 2023, as COVID-19 and a planned shift to remote working continue to wreak havoc on city ​​finances, especially with regard to the TTC.

“Make no mistake, the 2022 budget is still a COVID budget and we know this year will be a challenge, the revenues are not going to pick up and the costs are not going to go away next year and the year after,” City manager Chris Murray said at Thursday’s meeting. “So there is a challenge ahead of us for this year’s budget, but it’s not going to go away.”

NEARLY $ 200M IN COTS ALLOCATED TO OMICRON

Staff say nearly $ 200 million in financial pressures from the pandemic are specifically due to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

They say the biggest impact is on the TTC, which will face $ 561 million in COVID-19 pressures in 2022, largely due to declining ridership levels.

But the cost of administering the city’s shelter system is also up $ 288 million from before the pandemic, mainly due to the need to secure additional facilities to allow for physical distancing.

The staff proposed budget includes $ 135 million in new investments, including money to hire 63 additional paramedics.

Public consultations on the budget will take place on January 24 and 25. It will then be submitted to the entire city council for final approval on February 17.

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