LACKIE: Pandemic real estate hit costing city dearly

LACKIE: Pandemic real estate hit costing city dearly

By now it should be a familiar tale: the once-great North American city, booming with industry and immigration, hits a rough patch. Soon enough the long-overburdened infrastructure starts to crack, then crumble. Taxes go up. Businesses balk and depart for greener pastures. Less taxes come in. The people soon follow. Tax revenue drops even more. And now the real estate market is in decline. The city is less appealing. Even fewer people want to live there. Off they go. Rinse. Repeat. It’s a vicious cycle. Okay, so that was a bit of an exercise in hyperbole and surely not applicable to a world-class city like Toronto. Except on a much smaller scale, is it perhaps a cautionary tale? The second largest financial centre in North America, Toronto is Canada’s business and financial capital and North America’s fastest growing technology market. We are the functional brain of organizations — where world talent is attracted, recruited, hired, and put to work. And it’s to all of our benefit. Home to some of North America’s fastest growing populations, Toronto’s population increase has little to do with birth rates and everything to do with net migration, both from within our borders and beyond. Why is that interesting? Because the people coming immediately contribute taxes that keep our potholes filled, transit running, and the lights on in our schools, libraries and rec centres. And for Toronto — a city required by law to keep a balanced budget — those taxes are critical to funding operations. Property taxes ...
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