Posts Tagged ‘tax

Karen Stintz’s “Tax Attack” Battleplan

- June 27th, 2012

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The OneCity Transit plan TTC chair Karen Stintz will roll out Wednesday at City Hall

TTC chair Karen Stintz has been laying the track for this OneCity transit tax plan for a while.

Stintz is set to roll out the plan publicly at City Hall today (story here) and council would be voting to start city staff on working on it next month.

That’s the real surprise in Stintz’s transit move – she’s already got the necessary motions on various spots of the July council meeting’s agenda to ensure this could happen sooner rather than later.

If Stintz tried to walk the move on the council agenda as a member’s motion it would require a two-thirds vote – a high bar she might not have the votes for – but she won’t need to do that.

Motions passed at several committees, the Toronto and East York Community Council and even at Mayor Rob Ford’s own executive  are all already on track to be on the council agenda. That means Stintz will only need a simple majority of councillors on board to ram this plan through. It will happen and then the plan will be in the hands of city staff to study and report back in October.

Here’s the rundown on where and when the seemingly innocuous motions were passed:

June 12 – Executive committee

Mayor Rob Ford’s own executive committee voted earlier this month to have city staff work with Metrolinx and other levels of government to look at ways to fund transit. It’s approval at executive means it’ll be on council’s agenda in July and could even be amended to focus it on having staff explore Stintz’s transit tax idea. This item was on the agenda from a member’s motion Councillor Josh Matlow brought forward ages ago.

Here’s what Ford’s committee approved:

City Council request the City Manager to engage and participate with Metrolinx in establishing a working group of appropriate officials representing the City of Toronto, Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and any other relevant bodies to provide input into the preparation of a funding strategy for the Metrolinx regional transit plan.

June 13 – Toronto and East York Community Council

Councillor Pam McConnell successfully got the community council to endorse the East Bayfront LRT as a “priority project” and urge all transit authorities and levels of government to find a way to build it. Here’s the motion:

City Council identify the East Bayfront LRT line as an added priority project and encourage the TTC, Metrolinx, and the federal and provincial governments to investigate ways and means to facilitate the construction of the East Bayfront LRT at the earliest opportunity.

June 18 – Planning and Growth committee

Stintz – a member of the planning committee – added two items to the committee’s agenda last week that were quickly and quietly passed with little if any debate.

The first item asked city staff to include transit priorities in any official plan review. If approved by council next month, the motion orders city staff to work with TTC staff to develop a list of transit priorities. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess she’ll want staff to look at the lines in her OneCity plan and formally adopt them as transit priorities. Here’s Stintz’s motion:

City Council request that the Acting Chief Planner and Executive Director of City Planning work collaboratively with the Toronto Transit Commission to develop a list of transit priorities, to be approved by City Council, and that these priorities be included in the Official Plan review.

The second item the planning committee approved was support for the East Bayfront LRT. Stintz has said that transit line would be #2 on the priority list of lines to be funded by the new transit tax, second only to replacing the Scarborough RT with an extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Councillors on the committee endorsed the East Bayfront LRT as a priority for the city’s transit network and asked staff to report back in October with a way to fund the line’s construction.

June 20 – Economic development committee

At this committee meeting, Councillor Josh Colle walked on a transit-related motion. If approved by council, this would start city staff on doing the research to make the economic case for the OneCity plan and the tax increase that comes with it.

The committee voted to direct economic development staff to include the following in the city’s economic growth plan:

a) an analysis of the impact of traffic congestion on the City’s economy;

b) a review of the City’s transportation hubs and ports and their importance to Toronto’s economy;

c) the need for a goods movement strategy for the City;

d) the importance of a comprehensive transit plan and transportation funding strategies for the City; and

e) a review of employment hub development and employee mobility issues in the City of Toronto.