Earlier this week, more than 1,600 municipal leaders gathered in Niagara Falls for the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference. AMO provides a forum for Ontario municipalities to work together on common goals and lobby the provincial government on issues of shared importance. This year’s conference, among other things, discussed the importance of the provincial-municipal relationship in achieving long-term fiscal sustainability. To that end, OREA attended the conference, meeting with provincial and municipal key decision makers to advocate against the municipal land transfer tax (MLTT).
According to AMO, municipalities don’t have the fiscal capacity (i.e. tax powers) to meet the program needs of local residents while investing in infrastructure. The Government of Ontario is carefully considering options to give municipalities’ new taxes or tools to raise revenue. This may include new taxes for municipalities similar to those in the City of Toronto Act.
The City of Toronto Act gave Toronto the power to levy an MLTT. OREA has been a strong opponent of the tax since its inception due to its negative implications on the local economy, jobs and housing affordability. Since 2008, the tax has cost Toronto over 38,000 resale home transactions, almost 15,000 jobs and $2.3 billion in economic activity. In short, the MLTT is responsible for making homes even more expensive for cash strapped buyers in Ontario’s largest city.
OREA’s attendance at AMO is part of the association’s ongoing efforts to meet with key decision makers and advocate against this tax.