The Toronto casino debate enters the final spring discussions with more questions than answers. Councilors remain undecided on the preferred location for a casino, and are still without a casino hosting fee arrangement with the OLG.
But a new question waded into the discussion this week when Councilor Giorgio Mammoliti suggested freezing property taxes for up to five years if the city approves the casino. In a statement addressing his fellow councilors at city hall, Mammoliti argued that residents want to benefit financially from the casino’s development. He noted that gambling revenues could be used to fund public transportation development projects such as Metrolinx, while providing homeowners with an inflationary freeze on taxes. Mammoliti vouched that under this proposal, everybody wins.
“The only way that people will understand the type of money that we can make with a casino, it would actually save the taxpayers’ money if that were to be the case.”
Mammoliti is one of the few councilors committed to voting ‘Yes’ on the casino proposal, and remains one of Mayor Rob Ford’s closest allies on the issue. The pro-casino councilors will need all the support they can get. Reports from media outlets and online casino sites indicate approximately half of Toronto’s councilors are committed to voting ‘No’ on the proposal, which was reinforced by a second vote overwhelmingly against the casino from Toronto’s Board of Health on Monday.
On his Sunday radio show, Ford sidestepped a question about when a special casino meeting might occur. City staff previously indicated the mayor wanted to devote a two day meeting beginning May 7 to the casino, but Ford refused to provide a firm date on the meeting. If the agenda for that meeting is posted before Ford makes his decision, the vote will be delayed until later in the spring.