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Toronto’s average property tax levied vs the GTA’s

Late last year, I showed that Toronto’s average property tax isn’t significantly lower than the GTA’s. But a question still remained: what about the tax per capita in the GTA?

Rowan Caister and I collated the GTA municipalities’ publicly available financial data to produce this chart:

Tax per capita

As you can see, Toronto’s per capita property tax levied, at $1494.20, is higher than the GTA average, $1262.99. It’s not the highest (King Township, $1614.12), but it’s certainly not the lowest (Milton, $860.05).

I hope this puts to rest the mistaken belief that Toronto’s property taxes are too low.

UPDATE: Here’s a sorted version of the above chart. I also added a bar, in yellow, for the average GTA per capita property tax.
Tax per capita, sorted


Toronto, tell me your transit stories

While #TOpoli obsesses over the merits of LRT and subway—again—people who are just trying to live their lives are being punished for being female, or being non-white, or wearing a niqab, or kissing their boyfriend/girlfriend. And there are probably a lot of things I’m not considering because I’m a privileged, able-bodied white male.

Right now I want to know how your public transit system has failed you. Have you felt unsafe? Have you been thwarted by broken wheelchair ramps? Have you been harassed for being who you are? Have other things gone wrong that I can’t even conceive of? Please tell me.

Toronto’s property tax rates vs the GTA’s

People love to say that, since Toronto’s residential property tax rate is the lowest in the GTA, there’s a lot of room to increase it, even just to the average. (For reference: Toronto’s property tax rate is 0.7929218%; the average GTA tax rate is 1.13843887391304%.)

2011 GTA residential property tax rates

What these people are ignoring is that property tax rates are only half of the equation. In order to find out how much it actually costs individual taxpayers, you have to multiply the tax rate by the property value. And, as it turns out, average property value in the GTA isn’t the same in different cities.

GTA residential property tax burden

When you look at what the average property owner actually pays, you find that Toronto’s tax burden is not the lowest in the GTA. By my calculations, the average annual property tax in the GTA is $5,139; those same calculations show Toronto’s average annual property tax as $4,392. (I believe all these values include the education amount.)

I’d say that Toronto’s tax burden is fairly middle-of-the-road; it’s within 1 standard deviation of the average.

Were we to increase Toronto’s property tax rate to the GTA’s average, Toronto’s average tax burden would increase to $6,306, an increase of $1,913&emdash;43%.

Increasing Toronto’s property tax burden to the GTA’s average would be an increase of $747, or 17%.

I don’t believe that Toronto’s tax rates need to increase significantly over inflation. Doing so would penalize Toronto’s property owners instead of raising money from everyone who lives in and visits Toronto.

Sources: For property values, frequently realtors publish recent sales prices. It is very difficult to find average property values, unfortunately, so I used sales prices as a proxy for property values.

2011 tax rates are on

Finally, here is my working spreadsheet, including all souce data I used and the charts.

Councillor Michelle Berardinetti on public consultation

(See below for the Twitter conversation between Michelle Berardinetti, Nick Cluely and me that prompted this blog post.)

I genuinely like and respect Councillor Michelle Berardinetti. She’s smart and well-spoken, and I think she’s leading Ward 35 into a future that will make everyone’s life better.

That’s why I was surprised that she (apparently) thinks that being elected counts as a public consultation on her platform, allowing her to implement whatever changes she wanted without further consultation. Whether you are for or against bike lanes is immaterial—an election is not a public consultation.

In a public consultation, affected parties talk about nuanced issues and try to come to consensus. In an election, simplistic views of issues are trumpeted in an effort to convince the electorate to vote for a particular candidate. Further, voting for someone doesn’t imply that you endorse his or her entire platform, not to mention the views of the (potential majority of) people who didn’t vote for the eventual winner. (Note: Councillor Berardinetti was elected by a majority of voters in 2010, 50.4%.)

I hope that she was, indeed, being facetious, but I fear that she was not.

  1. CouncillorMB

    Some short-term pain, for a lot of long-term gain:

    Starting next week, Birchmount Road will be completely…

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 13:31:30
  2. joedrew
    @CouncillorMB Bike lanes going to be reinstalled?

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 13:32:27
  3. CouncillorMB
    @joedrew Hey Joe. Not at this time, we’d need a full public consultation process before moving forward with that

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 13:35:42
  4. joedrew
    @CouncillorMB I hope it happens sooner than later! Was on Pharmacy the other day too – sad that it’s basically a highway now 😦

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 13:36:39
  5. CouncillorMB
    @joedrew Birchmount is due for complete reconstruction in 2014, so will review for complete street, sharrow options at that time.

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 13:44:39
  6. CouncillorMB
    @joedrew light ‘shave and pave’ is being done next week. The complete restorative is due in 2014 – allow time to review, consult.

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 15:14:04
  7. joedrew
    @CouncillorMB Oh! I thought the resurfacing precluded a complete reconstruction. Great!

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 15:10:35
  8. simplynick416
    @joedrew @CouncillorMB let’s get started talking to the public then…I’m sure one was done to remove the lanes, too…right? #biketo

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 14:11:04
  9. CouncillorMB
    @simplynick416 @joedrew absolutely, that was the election!

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 15:12:02
  10. joedrew
    @CouncillorMB @simplynick416 I hope you’re being facetious here! An election is hardly an appropriate medium for public consultation.

    Thu, Jun 21 2012 15:13:32
  11. She did not reply to clarify whether she was being facetious.

My platform for the Toronto Cyclists Union Board of Directors

I’m running for a position on the Toronto Cyclist Union’s Board of Directors. Below is roughly what I’d have said in our Annual General Meeting on May 2, were it not for the overwhelming number of candidates! This (along with all the other candidates’ similar information) will  be distributed to all of the bike union members prior to the AGM.

If you’re a cyclist in Toronto, or interested in cycling in Toronto, I suggest you join the Bike Union and attend our Annual General Meeting on May 2 at CSI Annex at 720 Bathurst St.

If you have questions for me, please post them here!

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