Tuesday 7 July 2015

MLTT just an opportunistic tax grab?

Tomorrow morning at 9:30am, the Audit, Finance & Administration Committee of Hamilton will be entertaining a motion to have staff examine the possibility of lobbying the provincial government for rights to a local Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT).

The full [meeting agenda] is available on the city site, and the motion is item 9.1.

Currently, the only city in Ontario that has the right to their own taxation of land purchases is Toronto.  That is bad enough.. the last thing we need is this economically damaging tax brought to other municipalities, including ours.

I don't know the thinking behind it, but it's not hard to imagine that there are some at city hall looking at the hot real estate market in Hamilton and thinking how lovely it would be for the city coffers to add this tax to their revenue stream.

Unfortunately, an MLTT takes directly out of the local economy.  For starters, it makes it harder and more expensive to buy property... it's just one more expense on top of all the rest.  Some will decide not to move.  And those who still do will have less cash left in their pocket for all the spin-off business a real estate transaction usually creates - new furniture, painting, renovations and so on.  And that is a direct impact on local businesses of many kinds.
As the motion reads, I would have to acknowledge that so far this is just about "looking into it."  But I don't think there is really any need to look into it.  Toronto has had the tax and there have been studies on the impact on their economy.  In particular, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) had [a study done by Altus Group Economic Consulting].

As a resident of Hamilton concerned about the local economy and the effects such a new tax could have, I urge you to visit OREA's site at [www.donttaxmydream.ca] and consider attending the committee meeting tomorrow morning to show your opposition.

Or if you're not able to attend the meeting, make sure to at least email or tweet your local councilor to express your concern.

And finally, fr those on Twitter, make sure to follow hashtag #NOToMLTT on Twitter.

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