Tory defiant as council passes property tax increases by 21-3 vote

Toronto City Council

Mayor John Tory wouldn't commit to running again for office, but if he does, he welcomes his chance to defend his record after council approved 2020 property tax increases Wednesday by a 21-3 vote. 

"There were many people who were highly critical of what I did," Tory said of the 4.24 per cent increase being approved. "I'm quite prepared to be held accountable for what I've done in this budget." 

"I welcome the accountability." 

As laid out when the proposed budget was tabled last month, the increase equals $128 for the average home for the year. 

While the two per cent property tax bump is below the rate of inflation, the mayor's city building fund of 1.5 per cent, as well as other levies, reaches the 4.24 total. 

That does not include other planned increases such as a 10-cent TTC fare hike, and more for water and garbage collection. 

But like he did in December when he introduced the building fund, Tory said it wasn't just a mechanism to pay for transit and housing projects, but also a way to show other levels of government that the city is willing to pay its fair share for projects. 

He said despite being inconsistent with election promises, it was necessary. 

"The fact is I did it, I think it was a step that was as much as people could justifiably be asked to pay at this time to invest in the future, but also enough to allow me to go to Ottawa and Queen's Park and say when it comes to the money we need from you for transit and housing, our money is on the table," he said. 

Councillors Michael Ford, Stephen Holyday and Anthony Perruzza voted against, while Jaye Robinson and James Pasternak were absent.