Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin has confirmed that, aside from the land transfer tax, the government is still considering the possibility of giving municipalities new revenue tools. Yesterday in Question Period, in response to a question from opposition MPP Steve Clark, McMeekin would neither confirm nor deny reports that the province is planning to extend the option of using a vehicle registration tax to other municipalities.
Mr. Steve Clark: My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Last week, our PC caucus, with the help of thousands of realtors, home builders and hard-working Ontarians, slammed the door shut on this government’s municipal land transfer tax grab. We fought hard to keep the home ownership dreams of young families in this province alive.
But Ontarians know this Liberal government all too well. Taxes are in their DNA and have climbed a staggering $30.8 billion on their watch. Since we know a leopard can’t change its spots, Ontarians are worried about what other taxes this minister has up his sleeve to pick their pockets.
Is the minister considering making the family car his next target by authorizing all municipalities to collect a vehicle registration tax?
Hon. Ted McMeekin: I’d like to wish the member opposite a very merry Christmas. He deserves one, I think, after this session in the House.
I want to say very simply that I answered that question last week when I talked about the dialogue we’re having with our municipal partners. I want to say to the member opposite that if he wants to propose that we don’t allow municipalities to tax people who have baby kittens, I’d be pleased to stand in my place and say we’re not going to do that.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Steve Clark: Here we go again. I heard the same lines when I asked him about a land transfer tax scheme. For weeks, this minister claimed I was making it up—until he fessed up and backed off.
Drivers in Ontario already pay $10 billion every year to the provincial treasury through taxes and fees. What’s more, this government’s looming carbon tax and road tolls make the commute to work an even more expensive one.
Enough is enough. Just like the MLTT, the buck stops with this minister. No more jokes—I want a straight answer. Does the minister feel drivers in this province already pay enough taxes and will he commit today that he won’t let a new car tax out of the garage?
Hon. Ted McMeekin: This is too rich by three quarters, coming from a member of a previous government that did everything they possibly could to debilitate our municipal sector. It downloaded $3.6 billion, and when municipalities complained about it and said that they were going to have a tough time making ends meet, they said, “Go raise taxes.”
Thanks for the question.
However, later in an interview with QP briefing, the Minister said that he was not ruling anything out at this point. Municipalities, and other actors including the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) have been advocating for new revenue tools as part of the government’s review of municipal legislation.