Mayoral candidate is the only candidate with a funding source for every promise
Toronto, June 14, 2023 – Josh Matlow today released his fully funded and fully costed platform to praise from Canada’s first-ever Parliamentary Budget Officer. Matlow’s plan for A City That Works recognizes Toronto’s dire financial situation and credibly spells out how to raise revenues to make our city safer, more affordable and livable. Long seen as a champion of transparency in Ottawa, Page’s assessment carries weight.
“Josh Matlow’s platform, A City That Works, is comprehensive, transparent and forward-looking,” said Kevin Page, President of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at University of Ottawa and Former Parliamentary Budget Officer of Canada. “Nine policy areas. Clear priorities, and financial plans on new spending and revenue.”
This is the 13th year in a row that City of Toronto property taxes have been kept at or below the rate of inflation. As a result, Toronto has stopped moving forward, and in recent years, it has seen a real decline in the quality of services. TTC riders are waiting longer for their buses to come, the snow takes weeks to be cleared, there were delays opening park bathrooms last year and parents have to enter a “Hunger Games” competition just to get their children into a rec program. To build a city that supports its residents, new investments are needed.
Matlow’s plan for A City that Works is laid out simply and clearly in 16 colourful pages, printed and online, so that every voter can easily understand what Matlow will invest in and how he will pay for it. Highlights include:
- A costed and funded three-year plan to reverse TTC cuts, expand Scarborough trails and transit, create more affordable housing and support Toronto’s seniors, youth and homeless people with clear policies rooted in evidence.
Fiscally responsible new investments in Torontonians’ priorities totalling almost $1 billion (uses), matched with $1.167 billion in revenue (sources). Major revenue sources include:
- the City Works Fund, a dedicated two per cent above-inflation property tax increase, which works out to $5.55 per month for the average homeowner, to fix what’s broken in our streets, sidewalks and parks.
- stabilizing the police budget to provide needed community programs and supports that make our communities safer.
- a $200-million annual Climate-Action Levy from corporate parking lots to fund transit, green spaces and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Toronto’s next mayor will inherit an expected budget shortfall of $46 billion over the next decade. On top of this, the percentage of Toronto’s 2023 operating budget and 10-year capital plan funded by provincial and federal subsidies have been falling. Under Mayor John Tory, the percentage fell to 14.7 per cent from 18.4 per cent in 2015.
“Our services have been starved by a decade of conservative mayors and artificially low taxes,” said Matlow. “ A better Toronto is possible with realistic plans that show exactly how to pay for what we propose. In a campaign full of flimsy promises from other candidates, I am being upfront and honest about the new revenues we need to stop our city’s decline and make Toronto the remarkable city we all know it can be.”
Matlow has also detailed his approach to securing financial investment from both Queen’s Park and Ottawa on five key priorities, including social housing, TTC operating costs, health care, refugee settlement services and court services.
“Toronto is the economic engine of our country,” said Matlow. “Its future depends on our ability to set firm boundaries for Premier Ford and negotiate from a position of strength with other levels of government to address the city's billion-dollar budget hole.”
Page’s assessment of Matlow’s plan highlights the importance of his approach to securing a new financial deal for Toronto: “a commitment to negotiate long-term financial relationships with federal and provincial governments from a position of competence informed by future service and infrastructure needs.”
The three most significant factors that have kept Toronto afloat for the last 10 years – the land transfer tax, gas-tax sharing and the upload of social services costs – resulted from City-led negotiations with the federal and provincial governments and were implemented over time.
Toronto already does 10-year capital planning, but its partners in the federal and provincial governments don't provide anything close to that level of certainty and predictability to cities, preferring one-offs to stable funding.
“One-off deals and a return to annual budget bail-outs that existed during Mel Lastman and Olivia Chow’s era would be a disaster,” said Matlow. “Our city is in decline because we stopped investing in what matters in our everyday lives. The only way to fix this city is to raise revenues and negotiate from a position of strength to secure long-term, stable and predictable funding. I don’t want strong mayor powers. I want a strong Toronto.”
To learn more about Josh Matlow’s mayoral campaign to make Toronto a city that works, the safe, affordable, livable city that we all know it can be, please visit VoteMatlow.ca.