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Doug Ford wants TTC to freeze fares

The budget committee has tabled its motions for the 2014 capital and operating budgets but won’t finalize their recommendations until next month.

The motions include one from committee vice-chair, Coun. Doug Ford, who requested that the TTC consider eliminating the five-cent increase for token fares and $5.25 increase for the adult Metropass slated for Jan. 1, 2014.

Ford was expected to introduce major changes during the budget committee meeting on Friday, including lowering the proposed property tax hike from 2.5 per cent to 1.75 per cent and cutting the municipal land transfer tax (MLTT) by five per cent, but that didn’t happen.

Instead budget chair Frank Di Giorgio introduced five motions, including a land transfer tax reduction, which would be the equivalent of a 0.75 per cent cut in the residential property tax or $18 million, and the elimination of the city rebate for first-time homebuyers.

“All homebuyers will be getting a tax break, and I’ll give you the reasons why I’m promoting this in the new year,” he said.

If a decrease in the land transfer tax doesn’t occur, Di Giorgio wants the property tax increase to be held at 2.25 per cent by using $3.4 million in new revenue from additional tax assessment growth to reduce the tax levy and cutting new and enhanced budget items by $2.6 million.

The mayor had wanted a 10 per cent cut in the land transfer tax to be included in next year’s operating budget but the city said it would lose out on about $34.5 million, based on 2012 land transfer tax revenue figures.

Both Rob Ford and the Toronto Real Estate Board argue the MLTT should be cut as it’s a hindrance to home ownership.

The $9.6-billion operating budget being debated has a deficit of more than $200-million and an additional $43-million due to the provincial funding cuts that affect the city’s housing programs.

To balance the budget, city staff recommended a residential property tax hike of 2.5 per cent, which works out to about an extra $64 per household.

Ford said he wouldn’t support the 2014 budget because it was more than the 1.75-per-cent hike he was promising.

Click here to read the motions.

The budget committee will meet on Jan. 8 to finalize its recommendations before the 2014 capital and operating budgets go before council for approval.

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