NEWS

Budget committee mulls property tax hike

11/25/2013 07:56 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 05:59 EST
Toronto city officials will reveal their recommendations for the city budget later today, setting the stage for a possible clash between Mayor Rob Ford and some of his former allies. 

The operating launch of the budget committee is expected to put forth a property tax increase of as much as 2.5 per cent, though Ford has has said he wants to hold the hike at 1.75 per cent. 

Budget chief and former Ford ally Coun. Frank Di Giorgio says will be very difficult, for reasons including reduced transfer payments from the province and the expense of expanding the Scarborough subway. 

Ford has also pushed for a 10 per cent cut to the municipal land transfer tax. 

"We're going to have a mountain to climb as a budget committee to meet that particular target," Di Giorgio told CBC News last week. 

"The way the numbers are shaping up, it's going to be very difficult for the budget committee to come in at 1.75 per cent," said Di Giorgio. "The mayor, of course, isn't going to be happy."

The scandal-plagued mayor, who has been stripped by council of most of his powers, has said he will not support a budget with a 2.5 per cent increase. 

Ford does not have a seat on the seven-member budget committee but his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, does. 

Many of Ford's powers have now shifted to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. That means Di Giorgio, as budget chief, must report to Kelly because the budget committee is a subcommittee of the executive, which the deputy mayor now chairs.

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