09/02/2014 12:01 EDT | Updated 11/02/2014 05:59 EST

Chow Floats Land Transfer Tax Boost To Fund School Nutrition


Toronto mayoralty candidate Olivia Chow says if elected, she will raise the city's land transfer tax by one per cent to fund a school nutrition program.

Chow says the proposed increase will only apply to transactions that exceed $2 million.

She made the announcement Tuesday, the first day of school for most students.

"Some of the kids will arrive in school hungry," said Chow.  "If you're hungry, you can't learn very well."

Chow said the tax would apply to only a fraction of annual real-estate transactions in Toronto. Since September 2013, 473 homes and 56 condos sold for more than $2 million.

Chow said her plan will make the system "more progressive." She said people paying more than $2 million for a home can afford an increase in the land transfer tax. Chow says the increase will raise about $20 million a year.

Toronto's Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) is paid by the purchaser of a home or business in the city. The buyer of a house with a $750,000 sale price would pay about $10,075. Toronto is the only municipality in Canada with a MLTT and it's paid in addition to the provincial property tax, which is slightly higher.

The tax is reviled by real estate professionals but it's also proven to be a lucrative source of revenue for the city, accounting for about $345 million in revenue in 2012.

Chow also reiterated her intention to build light rail in Scarborough as opposed to sticking with the approved subway plan endorsed by her main opponents Rob Ford and John Tory.

Chow resigned as the MP for Trinity-Spadina so she could pursue her current bid to become the next mayor of Toronto.

While dozens of people have registered to run for mayor, Chow is one of the most high-profile candidates.

Other well-known candidates include former city councillor David Soknacki, Tory and Ford.

Earlier Tuesday, Liberal MPP Brad Duguid officially endorsed Tory.

Chow said the Duguid endorsement "doesn't change anything for me."

The Oct. 27 election is now less than two months away.


Photo gallery Olivia Chow Through The Years See Gallery