December 5, 2017, Toronto, ON. – Following a successful campaign to have MPAC review assessment of Yonge Street commercial property taxes, members of Toronto’s small business community are urging Toronto City Council to take the next step and support a review of tax reform tools that can save small businesses and iconic commercial streets in the city.
"Yonge Street small businesses are reeling from the City of Toronto’s grossly unfair and unprecedented business property tax increases," says John Anderson, President of the Yonge Street Small Business Association. "Increases levied earlier this year – were 100% per year and 400% over four years – have been scaled back to 50% per year and 200% over four years, after much protest. This does not solve the problem. Most businesses will still find it impossible to pay such huge increases, particularly at a time of great economic uncertainty and when other expenses like the minimum wage are about to go up very steeply."
“Small, independent businesses are a vital part of a truly vibrant community," said Mark Garner, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area. "‘Mom-and-pop’ shops bring real character to neighbourhoods, and we need property tax policies that allow them to thrive alongside the big retail chains."
At this week’s meeting, City Council will have an opportunity to support a motion by Councillor Wong-Tam and Economic Development and Culture Committee Chair Councillor Michael Thompson that will direct staff to analyze specific tax reforms tools that the City and Province can undertake with a report-back in early 2018 for integration into the budget process.
"This week City Council will make a choice to either support intelligent tax reforms that will save small businesses or ignore their call for action, said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. "Development and land speculation is pricing small businesses out of the very communities they have helped build. With a willing partner in the Province, we have a unique window of opportunity to correct this policy failure. I am calling on my colleagues on City Council to support our motion to preserve our iconic commercial neighbourhoods."