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article imageToronto City Council scraps car registration tax, cuts budgets Special

By Andrew Moran     Dec 17, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faced tough opposition from city council over his motion to repeal the $60 Personal Vehicle Tax that was legislated two years ago. In the end, Ford came through on two campaign promises: repealing the tax and cutting budgets.
During the campaign trail, then Etobicoke Councillor Rob Ford promised to end the $60 personal vehicle tax (PVT), otherwise known as the car registration tax. The new mayor introduced a motion that would repeal the tax as of Jan. 1, which drew both support and opposition in the council chamber Thursday.
Prior to the meeting, though, the city council class of 2010-2014 took a group photo. The Toronto Mayor, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday and Speaker of the Chamber Frances Nunziata were featured in the front-centre of the photo.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (L) and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (L) and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
At 9:30 a.m., city council got down to business. For more than 3 hours, city councillors questioned, introduced referrals and motions and delivered speeches to share their point of view on repealing the PVT.
“This morning, I’m introducing two key items for debate by this council,” said Mayor Rob Ford. “These items are abolishing the car registration tax and the reduction of councillors’ expense accounts. Both these measures represent the best interest of Toronto taxpayers. Both these measures allow this council to lead by example and do our fair share to address the financial challenges faced by our city.”
Ford explained that by repealing the $60 car tax it will put $64 million back into the “pockets of Toronto taxpayers.” He continued that this money “people work hard for” and its money that the municipal government “does not need.”
Speaker of the Chamber  Frances Nunziatta
Speaker of the Chamber, Frances Nunziatta
“This year, the city collected more than $200 million in tax money we didn’t need to pay our bills with,” continued Ford. “No doubt Madame Speaker, Toronto does not need this $48 million more than the people of this great city do.”
Even though councillors such as Giorgio Mammoliti and Josh Matlow – who asked the mayor if there was a “plan b” – voiced their support in the motion, several councillors, including Janet Davis, Gord Perks, Adam Vaughn and Anthony Perruzza, were either completely against the repeal or opposed to “discriminating against two classes.”
The discrimination discussion occurred when Vaughn noted that the motion does not retroact to Sept. 1: “Why are car owners the first to get a tax break?” questioned Vaughn. “Why is one class of people being treated differently than one other class?”
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Ford, who has been accused of delivering “vague, bland assurances,” told Vaughn that “we’re not” and explained that when he campaigned for nine months and attended 109 debates he was told that the PVT is the most “frustrating tax.”
This prompted Councillor Perruzza to ask the mayor if he were to support a motion that would make the repeal retroactive to September 1. He attempted several times to receive an answer from the mayor but Ford stated: “I’d support anything to get rid of this tax.”
Councillor Davis said that some of her constituents would prefer a property tax increase than a repeal of the PVT. She put forth a motion to bring the PVT repeal initiative to the budget committee and part of the 2011 budget process, which was defeated after recess.
A packed crowd inside the council chamber.
A packed crowd inside the council chamber.
After more than 5 hours of questioning, referrals, amendments, speeches and a recess, city council voted in favor, 39-6, to repeal it.
Furthermore, city council also voted in favour of reducing councillors’ budgets from $51,300 down to $30,000. The motion was passed 40-6. Cutting budgets, which Ford announced he has done since he knew he was going to become mayor, was a key campaign issue for the 10-year Etobicoke Councillor.
“We were elected to lead and it’s our time to show that we’re ready and able to lead,” said Ford. “We are in this together and together we will succeed.”
More about Rob Ford, City council, Personal vehicle tax
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