Feb 11

One Cent Now & Again: Canadian cities need sales tax revenue

I thought the local media went a bit overboard with their coverage of Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and his visit to Toronto last week. (It was almost Bieber-ish at times.) Still, though, I was glad to see the Nenshi speak about issues universal to Canadian municipalities.

Here’s a report from the Calgary Herlad by Jason Markusoff and Deborah Tetley, regarding Nenshi’s speech at the Canadian Club where he calls for Canadian municipalities to receive one per cent of the GST:

Revealing a potential plank of the “muscular urban agenda” he’s touted here — and floating an idea a group of Calgarians has been quietly organizing for almost a year — Nenshi said he expects the “penny tax” proposal will be controversial, but he wanted to open the discussion.

via Mayor Nenshi backs push for ‘penny tax’ to build new libraries, recreation centres.

If the call for 1% of the sales tax sounds familiar, it’s because a similar thing was called for a few years back by David Miller and the ‘One Cent Now’ campaign. There were bus ads and everything. The City of Toronto actually still owns the onecentnow.ca domain, though it recently was redirected to the city’s main website. (Here’s an archived version.)

Via Twitter, Councillor Shelley Carroll tells me that a 1% municipal sales tax would net the city approximately $450 million per year.

Glad to see the idea pop up again, though I’m not expecting Toronto’s new mayor to support Nenshi’s call. Spending problem, not a revenue problem, remember.