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Ontarians facing rapidly rising property tax bills due to skyrocketing real estate prices will get some relief from Queen’s Park’s tax reform
By Jeff Gray
Ontarians facing rapidly rising property tax bills due to skyrocketing real estate prices will get some relief from Queen’s Park, as the provincial budget aims to reform what the Finance Minister called the province’s “unfair and unpredictable” property-tax system.
Businesses in many of the province’s towns and cities will also get a $540-million break â€” phased in over seven years â€” on the business education tax, a chunk of the property tax bill that has long been unevenly applied across the province, which rates varying by up to a factor of four.
Finance Minister Greg Sorbara and his Liberal government have faced a kind of property tax revolt, with calls from Opposition Leader John Tory for a cap, after the province’s ombudsman slammed the system and the Liberals brought in a two-year assessment freeze.
Under the changes in the budget, which come into affect with the next assessment due for 2009, property values will be assessed every four years, instead of annually. Any assessment increases will be phased in, also over four years, allowing taxpayers time to adjust to any sharp swings upward.
The changes mean that a 20% increase in assessment values, for example, would be brought in as 5% a year over the four years. Decreases would be effective immediately, however.
“Every year, property owners don’t have to worry that the assessor got it right or wrong, will I have to make an appeal, how this is going to affect my life,” Mr. Sorbara told reporters before presenting the budget to the House. “This system is going to be fairer.”
In the text of his budget speech, he said his reforms were much fairer than Mr. Tory’s proposed cap, which “would tend to favour the more affluent.”
The Progressive Conservative Leader said the plan was the product of the government “scrambling to put something together.”
Mr. Tory said Premier Dalton McGuinty was only offering a temporary reprieve to struggling homeowners, saying: “You have four years to pack up and leave your home.”
Spiralling real estate prices, especially in many Toronto neighbourhoods, have left some residents scrambling to pay property tax hikes. In some cases, seniors, or others on fixed incomes, worry they may not be able to stay in their homes.
Mr. Sorbara also pledged to reform the system by which homeowners can challenge their property tax assessments, which was criticized by the province’s ombudsman as unresponsive.
Assessment appeals to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, long criticized by many as confusing and difficult. The budget outlines changes, including “simplifying” the appeal process and ensuring that more information is shared with applicants.
Business groups and municipalities have long called for reforms to the business education tax, which has rates that discriminate against businesses in many cities and towns, charging them more than in other places.
The lost revenue for education will be replaced by Queen’s Park funding, the government says.
Businesses classified as commercial in Toronto will see their business education tax drop by 22% by 2014, saving $26-million, the budget documents say. Industrial taxpayers will see their taxes sink 19%, saving $205-million.
Others will see steeper tax cuts at least in percentage terms. Commercial property owners in Thunder Bay will see their business education tax sink by 55% by 2014, for example.
NDP Leader Howard Hampton said the tax cut was likely good for small business, but was being phased in much too slowly.
“It may help some businesses in six or seven years from now,” he told reporters. “But in terms of this year, not much.
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information
A new direction on the Danforth
From New Homes & Condos Magazine
For almost three decades, the principals of Icon Developments have been creating communities of distinction. The proud arm of Delpark Homes Development Group â€“ responsible for a host of distinctive communities across the GTA â€“ Icon is now introducing its newest condo project: Promenade on the Danforth. Centrally located in Toronto’s vibrant Danforth community, Promenade represents the promising future of high-rise condos, one in which Icon has played a steady and pivotal role since its seminal days as a developer.
A true architectural accomplishment, Promenade is the treasured undertaking of a world-class structural engineer and a celebrated architect. Inspired by an award-winning building in the heart of Rotterdam, Netherlands, Promenade‘s colourful and daring exterior features concave and inverse structural lines, enhanced by strong geometric patterns and set off with creatively staggered glass balconies. Unparalleled expertise in the details of the building process has allowed Icon to execute a remarkably unique and challenging design in Promenade.
And yet, while Promenade may boast avant-garde style and luxurious designs, it still has a suite to please every taste and budget. One-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom, and two-bedroom plus den designs in a variety of sizes and layouts are available, all amazingly priced. A limited collection of three-bedroom suites is also available. Condo designs are spacious, efficient and strikingly well fashioned, ranging from 584 to 1,166 sq. ft., giving residents ample space and every appointment they need to live comfortably.
Floor-to-ceiling windows not only add to the contemporary design, but ensure natural light and inspiring city views. Kitchens with breakfast bars, big windows, walk-in closets in the master bedrooms, and in-suite laundry facilities are just a few of the features that distinguish the suites at Promenade. Additionally, selected suites have roof terraces over 1,500 sq. f.t offering spectacular lake or city views. Indeed, because of its unique design and location, suites will have a variety of diversified views.
Promenade‘s common areas are equally well appointed and flawlessly designed. The lobby is stylish and inviting, an impressive welcome to residents and visiting guests, while the dynamic and adaptable party room provides a perfect setting for memorable evenings with friends and casual get-togethers. A beautifully designed state-of-the-art recreational room will allow residents to maintain an active lifestyle without the additional monthly dues of a gym membership. With chic shared spaces and an intimate big-city feel, Promenade‘s indoor atmosphere is endlessly fashionable.
Icon has also gone to great lengths to make sure the outdoor atmosphere is equally sustainable. The epitome of environmentally responsible urban building, Promenade on the Danforth is brilliantly planned to balance all the conveniences of urban life with a shared desire for a neighbourhood that will flourish far into the future.
Icon’s eye towards the future, however, goes well beyond environmental initiatives. Because of the three to five year waiting list for retirement centres, Icon Developments has designed concepts that will accommodate baby boomers with a home care service provided by an outside company. At Promenade, residents will be able to use their services for daily tasks about town, suite cleaning, meal preparation, or simply company, all for a fraction of the cost of retirement centre living.
Promenade‘s inspired design, affordable suites and Green philosophy are all perfectly in sync with the Danforth neighbourhood, itself a fashionable, vibrant and community-oriented area. Known today as Greektown, this charming area of Toronto starts a few blocks east of the Bloor Viaduct and extends north and south, along Danforth Avenue in Toronto.
Transformed by a wave of Greek immigrants in the ’60s and ’70s, the Danforth is a popular strip full of Mediterranean-Greek styled restaurants, cafÃ©s, bakeries, boutiques, travel agencies and food markets. Weekdays, weekends, day or night, the Danforth is always teeming with excitement. With concerts at the Danforth Music Hall, performances at the annual Beach Jazz festival, Saturday afternoons at the Dentonia Park Golf Course, or mile-long strolls on the Beach boardwalk, there are infinite possibilities for fun and adventure in this cultural hub.
The Danforth is also a Business Improvement Area (BIA). The BIA is an association of commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the city to create thriving, competitive and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists and new businesses. Promenade residents will benefit enormously from a lifestyle enhanced by Danforth’s firm commitment to a beautiful, Green, safe and vibrant neighbourhood. An additional benefit that will undoubtedly please future residents is Promenade‘s close proximity to Toronto’s transit systems. Subway and GO stations are steps away, so excursions downtown are a breeze. Live in the ideal community without sacrificing commute time.
The vibrant Toronto Beach to the south., the multicultural buzz of the Danforth to the east, dramatic ravine lands and tranquil parks to the north, and the Scarborough Bluffs to the west. Promenade on the Danforth brings a brand-new perspective to extraordinary urban living. Effortlessly accessible, unmistakably cosmopolitan, Promenade is the new jewel of Toronto’s East End.
With over 15 suite designs and starting from only $159,990, suites are well within the reach of first-time buyers, young professionals, empty-nesters and semi-retires.
New Homes & Condos Magazine is an excellent source of housing information for those looking for information on new condos in Ontario, Canada. We offer the most up-to-date information on new communities across the Greater Toronto Area.
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