City tight-lipped on budget - Metro US

City tight-lipped on budget

Today is budget day in Toronto.

That means the city’s 44 councillors and mayor will try to limit the burden on taxpayers while balancing the city’s books as the economy crumbles.

Yesterday, Mayor David Miller would not reveal anything. Around city hall, politicians and officials have been unusually tight-lipped.

“I’m happy to speak to property taxes tomorrow when we announce the budget,” Miller told reporters at a news conference at the Parkdale public library yesterday.

Miller has for months predicted a two to four per cent tax hit on homeowners and today he will finalize the number.

In 2008, a home valued at $365,468 paid $2,232.73 in municipal property taxes (excluding Toronto school taxes).

A two per cent increase would add $44.65 to the bill of a home. A four per cent increase comes to $89.30. But since Miller first promised to limit any tax hike, the downturn has deepened and the city’s finances are under increasing strain.

Yesterday, Miller tried to cushion the impact of the downturn when he announced that an extra $1.3 million will go to help the poor, jobseekers and low-income seniors.

“The impacts of the recession have shaken people’s confidence,” Miller said. “Daily reports of job losses leave Torontonians worried and many families in serious need.”

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