TABIA 2021 AGM Tax Report
Mr. Lionel Miskin, TABIA Vice President & Chair of Tax Committee.
May 31, 2021.
I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed. (George Carlin). In fact, your tax committee put a lot of hours into tax reform. Nothing changed, until it did. But the French have an expression: Le plus ca change, le plus cést meme. Pardon my French, but in English it translates to “the more things change, the more they are the same”. You will see what I mean.
Last year I reported that the 2020 Ontario budget had a provision to allow municipalities to create a new sub-class of small business commercial property, to be taxed at a rate lower than the general commercial rate. The provision was slated to assist small business. At that time, we were engaged in discussions with representatives of MPAC and the City of Toronto with a view to obtaining tax relief for small business. Our hope was to have reforms in place for 2021.
During those discussions, we had engaged in a lot of research for various reform possibilities. We did in fact come up with various alternatives substantially consistent with the budget provision. The city then, many months ago, undertook to do some computer modelling to ascertain how those proposals would work in the real world, who would be affected, how they would be affected and by how much. That was many, many months ago in 2020. I am told that recently the city finance dept. has finally got around to do modelling but has not released any results. So, we are still in the dark. At the same time as we put forward our proposals, the Finance dept. started to push back. Cannot be done for 2021 because the province has not enacted the legislation to empower the municipalities to create that sub-class. In fact, the province did not do so until early this month (May 2021), leading some to think that the province rather lately began to realize that it is not as simple as originally thought. We had suggested that the city implement as much as could possibly be done and finish up the job when the necessary legislation is enacted. Several municipal councillors appeared to be on board with that suggestion, but not, unfortunately, the mayor nor the finance dept. Those councillors caved and Council did what council usually does, it voted unanimously to kick the whole thing down the road to 2022. At the same time, it instructed the finance dept. to come up with a proposal based on the proposal we had put forward. We have not seen that yet