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Green Party calls for new funding for Toronto and other municipalities

Levying yet another tax on real estate in Toronto makes it harder for low-income residents.Toronto - July 17, 2007 - In response to Toronto city council's 23 to 22 decision to defer their vote on a new municipal land transfer tax, Green Party of Ontario (GPO) Leader Frank de Jong announced today that a Green government would give Toronto its portion of the provincial land transfer tax, and would consider doing the same for all Ontario municipalities.

De Jong said that levying yet another tax on the sale of real estate in Toronto makes it harder for low- and middle-income residents to purchase a home. However, he said he understands that local governments have limited fiscal resources and are expected to deliver a wide range of services ranging from garbage pickup to parks and recreation.

"Toronto housing prices are already amongst the highest in the county, so we don't need to slap another tax on home ownership," said de Jong, who is currently on a speaking tour in Australia. "But it is critical that local governments have the revenue to deliver the services their residents need.

"It's time for the provincial government to step up and show some real leadership by taking responsibility for the services it has downloaded onto municipalities."

Toronto's proposed municipal land transfer tax is projected to raise $350 to $500 million for the city. Transferring this amount to help Toronto deal with its fiscal shortfall would represent a small investment on the part of the province but could have significant economic benefits, de Jong said.

The GPO would pay for this transfer of provincial revenue through a tax shift that would raise the equivalent amount from "pollution taxes" or a carbon tax.

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For interviews and more information, please contact: Anouk Hoedeman Media Relations Green Party of Ontario Phone: 613-236-7772 or 613-322-5269 Email: ahoedeman@yahoo.ca