Comment 34075

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 16:27:08

Ryan >> ALL of the evidence from great cities all around the world tells us that great cities are places with excellent public and private amenities and a very high quality of life.

The primary thing that all great cities have in common is that they pay more in taxes than they get back from the government. Great cities don't rely on handouts, they give the handouts.

>> No great city ever competed on price. In fact the opposite is true: great cities charge a very large premium to live and do business there

I am not arguing for lower property values or lower tax payments, just lower tax RATES. Because lower tax rates decrease the tax rate on wealth, people invest more. More investment increases assessment and ultimately drives tax revenue higher than before.

The fact that Hamilton currently has so many run down and vacant buildings is a symptom that people can't make money investing in Hamilton real estate. If you allow investors to grow their wealth by lowering tax rates, they will plow much of that money right back into the city. They will do this, not because they are nice, but because low tax rates increase their return on capital.

>> Hamilton already offers pretty generous reductions in business taxes to encourage investment. That by itself doesn't seem to be sufficient to overcome all the other disincentives for businesses to start or locate here.

If Hamilton wants to be more like Toronto, why not copy what they are doing. They have low residential tax rates, we should copy that. They are net contributors to the province, we should copy that. They have more transit than we do, we should copy that.

Rather than simply focus on the transit part, which is what you are suggesting, or the tax and contribution part, which is what I like to push, why not do it all equally? That way we will cover all of the bases and we will still make great progress.

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