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Tory blasts big tax hike talk
March 6, 2015
By Don Peat

Don’t tell Mayor John Tory the city should think about raising taxes higher.

Tory - who campaigned on keeping tax increases at or below inflation - snapped back at those suggesting the city should consider a bigger hike for the second time this week.

Tory’s latest anti-tax rant came Thursday when a reporter asked him if it was “wise” for the city to keep property tax increases at or below inflation given last summer’s flooding and the hundreds of cases of frozen pipes that have left residents without water for days.

“I completely reject the premise of your question,” Tory told the TV news reporter. “The level of property taxation in this city has nothing to do with our ability to go and solve the problems that have been created in the last few days.”

The fired-up mayor stressed 80% of the roughly 3,000 homes without water have involved residents’ own pipes in their own homes.

“That is not the city’s responsibility,” he said.

“To just go along with those who’d say let’s just keep increasing taxes at a very high rate year after year after year because all is going to be resolved in terms of cold weather and water pipes is an admission of failure, an admission of defeat and is misleading to voters.”

Earlier in the week, Tory delivered a speech to the executive committee lambasting the calls from some councillors to raise taxes higher to meet the city’s budget needs.

In an interview on Thursday, Tory said there is no connection between frozen pipes and low taxes.

“To jump immediately to the notion that we should have very substantial, 6% or 7% property tax increases before you have tried to get more support from the other governments who have access to more money and before you have made the city government operate much more efficiently - which I believe it can be - is an admission of defeat,” Tory said.

“(It) is the easy way out.”