Mayor Rob Ford is one step closer to fulfilling his campaign promise to cancel the vehicle registration tax.
“The war on the car stops today,” Ford told the media on Dec. 1. “We will eliminate the $60 car registration tax at the first council meeting in December to take effect on Jan. 1, 2011.”
Ford’s hand-picked executive committee voted to kill the tax at its first meeting on Dec. 9, but that decision comes at a cost of $64 million: $48 million in lost revenue and $16 million to issue refunds to people who paid for their 2011 car registration in advance.
City staff also costed out an option to cancel the tax on Sept. 1 which would cost $48 million in lost revenue but not require refunds.
Ford has announced he can forgo this revenue and still produce a flat-lined 2011 budget, with no property tax increases and no major service cuts. City manager Joseph Pennachetti said his staff will try and achieve those goals, but there’s no details at this stage on how that will be achieved.
Beaches-East York Councillor Janet Davis is skeptical of the mayor’s claims.
“The chickens will come home to roost at the time of the budget,” she said Dec. 9. “Executive has made decisions today with no budget information before them.
“This is a wait and see trust us approach and I trust the city manager but it requires more than trust. It requires a very clear plan and I don’t see it.”
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday was pleased with the decision to cancel the car tax.
“The city manager has assured us there are ways to deal with this (canceling the car tax) and why he left the recommendation up to us,” Holyday said.
City council will vote Dec. 16 on executive’s recommendation to cancel the tax.
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