Toronto City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti sent out a photo of himself giving the middle finger in response to a city hall proposal that he says seeks to raise taxes for residents with roofs on their properties.
The photo, titled “TAX THIS!!” was sent by Mammoliti to Toronto media Monday evening in response to a proposal that looked at funding options to pay for the city’s Stormwater Management Capital Program.
Mammoliti described the proposal as a “roof tax” and an “innovative way to separate taxpayers from their money,” adding that it would add an additional charge to residents with roofed properties that would amount to between $130 to $401 a year through garbage rates.
“I think it encaptures the feeling of my constituents and homeowners of the city of Toronto who are sick and tired of these kinds of tricks being played on a regular basis on increasing fees and taxes in the city of Toronto,” he told Global News, adding he decided to send the photo to articulate his frustration.
“I think it’s really the only real measure of describing the anger that’s out there with respect to what we’re trying to do at city hall.”
Mammoliti said he was briefed on the proposal, which would include taxes on residents’ roofs, driveways or patios. He said currently taxpayers pay one charge for water and wastewater but staff are proposing that the city establish a dedicated stormwater charge.
“Any hard surface that any homeowner owns will be taxed now and it’s going to come through their garbage fees yet again,” he said.
“I just expect all politicians to be upfront with the taxpayer and say this is how much money we need and this is how much we’re increasing your taxes by. Not to try to squeeze something through the back door yet again, where most people aren’t even going to catch it.”
Mammoliti said the proposal would mean homeowners would be taxed on rainwater that falls on any hard surface on their property — including roofs — which is why his “fingers were up” in the photo.
“It’s an excuse to find new revenue in the city of Toronto and they’re using this excuse to do that job and I cannot agree with it and I don’t think the taxpayer can agree with it,” he said.
“The problem is this, unless someone like myself speaks out this thing would have been encaptured in a budget report and implemented as quick as the idea came forward. We need to stop this from happening and we need homeowners to understand what city hall is doing to them.”
Mammoliti said council is formulating a discussion this year on the proposal and wanted to do public consultations next year ahead of implementing the proposal in 2018-2019.
“I’m proposing that we stop the discussions immediately and not find this new revenue tool as they put it, this new tax, and just put an end to this before we even start the hundreds of thousands it’s going to cost for consultations,” he said.
“I heard somewhere that Santa Claus doesn’t even want to climb the roof this year at Christmas.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory could not immediately be reached for comment.
Ashley Carter contributed to this report