Councillor Josh Matlow

Newstalk1010: Mayor’s allies speak out as middle vows to save land transfer tax

January 23, 2012

If Mayor Rob Ford decides to try and keep his campaign promise of eliminating the land transfer tax, he’s going to face some stiff competition.

A group of Councillors that occupy the “middle” of the political spectrum at City Hall has gained some steam over the last week since making amendments to stop millions of dollars in cuts in the 2012 budget.

Councillor Josh Matlow, himself a member of the so-called “Mighty Middle,” had several other Councillors from the same group on his show “The City” Sunday afternoon on NewsTalk 1010.  They concluded that given their numbers and where they stand on the land transfer tax, they would probably shoot it down if  it came to a vote in Council.  Those who support the tax say it is a valuable source of revenue for Toronto.

NewsTalk 1010 spoke to some of the Mayor’s closest allies on Council who say the middle is jumping the gun.


“I think they would be well advised to wait to hear firstly from our staff on how this could be done and what affect it would have,” said Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday.  “Also, I think they might want to hear from their own constituents.”

Holyday accused the group of being more “left of centre” than they let on, and says he feels they’re just “opposing the Mayor for the sake of opposing him.”  The Deputy Mayor says he’s frustrated that this issue is already being discussed when it won’t hit Councillor’s tables for some time still.

Budget Chief Mike Del Grande has admitted before that he doesn’t think now is the right time to scrap the land transfer tax, and he repeated that sentiment to NewsTalk 1010, insisting Toronto has to have a sustainable budget first.  However, he tells us “the discussion is still preliminary because…you’ve got to get your basics in place…It’ll be up to the Mayor’s office and staff to demonstrate how that can be done.”

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti seemed the most upset by what the group had to say on NewsTalk 1010.  He accused his counterparts from the “middle” of feeling “they’ve got a little bit of power overnight” and creating a three-way power struggle that will affect Council’s ability to get anything done.  Mammoliti says now is a good time to discuss another one of Mayor Ford’s campaign promises: “We’re not going to have a choice but to cut (Council) in half,” he suggest.  “I think if we do we’ll all get along much better anyway.”

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