Sam Moini remarks, Budget Committee Jan. 12

Sam Moini, TTA remarks

Budget Committee January 12, 2016

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Good afternoon, and thank you for this opportunity to speak.

  • As Budget Committee members tackle the work of balancing the budget, Toronto’s legal taxi industry would like to highlight some important points.
  • Toronto’s legal taxi industry contributes about $15 million to the City’s bottom line every year, and we are proud to do so. We are part of the City, and we expect to pay our fair share.
  • While the taxi industry is proud of the significant contribution it makes to fund important programs,

Uber pays nothing.

 

  • Every member of the taxi industry pays multiple fees and charges every year. Issuing 532 Toronto Taxi Licenses alone raised $2.6 million dollars from legal cab drivers.
  • Uber pays nothing.
  • Every standard plate owner pays almost $1300 per year to the City to renew their plate. Ambassadors pay close to $800. Every driver pays $338.00
  • Brokerages pay fees; owners pay fees; drivers pay fees. There are fees to go to cab school, and a fee for re-check after an inspection.
  • Uber pays nothing.
  • Since UberX has decimated our industry, many of our drivers have their backs right against the wall. They are struggling to keep their cars on the road; many are not even able to put food on their family’s table.
  • How can Toronto expect legal taxi drivers whose income has been chopped in half to continue paying the same fees they have paid in years past?
  • We cannot pay you with money we do not have.
  • Where has the money gone? To Uber drivers who pay no fees.
  • More importantly, To an illegal bottom line company to which we all know as Uber, which electronically processes every fare it generates in Toronto in the Netherlands, in order to avoid paying taxes in Canada.

 

  • As long as we can earn a living, we have no issue with paying these fees. However, as taxpayers, we expect to see the City enforcing the law, and that is not happening. Uber is being allowed, even encouraged, to destroy the law-abiding taxi industry.

 

 

  • Until there is a fair, just conclusion to this issue, and the laws of this city and country are enforced to its fullest against illegal operations such as uber we are asking city council not to charge any fees to the taxi industry. Though this will not come close to the income taxi drivers have lost it is only the fair thing to do.
  • When this has been resolved, the legal taxi industry will be proud to pay its fair share.
  •       How can a city as great as Toronto, witness the destruction of the legal taxi industry by an illegal company who flaunts all laws and regulations for its own benefit?
  • Is this the kind of City we wish to build?
  •     There is a direct link between Budget deliberations in January and Uber considerations in February. The legal taxi industry is trying to survive asking you to keep that in mind as you work.
  • Thank you.

 

Taxi industry pays $15 million to Toronto; Uber pays nothing

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TTA spokesperson Sam Moini speaks to Toronto's Budget Committee Janaury 12, 2016.

January 12, 2016 ( Toronto)—The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) today reminds Toronto’s Budget Committee of the legal taxi industry’s contribution to the City’s bottom line.

Sam Moini, spokesperson for the TTA, presented Committee members with numbers based upon the City’s own estimates of taxi industry activity. [1]

“Every member of the taxi industry pays multiple fees and charges every year, contributing almost $15 million in total to Toronto’s annual budget,” said Moini, who points out that UberX drivers contribute absolutely nothing to Toronto’s bottom line while profiting from the use of Toronto’s infrastructure.

“$15 million pays for a lot of important services. As a comparison, TTC board-approved improvements which are currently unfunded total $16.7 million.[2]

“We hope that in the months ahead, as Councillors debate the folly of allowing an unlicensed, unregulated foreign company to exploit the City’s infrastructure while contributing absolutely nothing to it, you will give some thought to the millions of dollars the legal taxi industry contributes to Toronto.”

Moini notes that until 2014, legal taxi industry members believed at least some of their money went to pay for enforcement of the law in Toronto. However, since UberX is being allowed to operate illegally and with impunity, taxi drivers are growing increasingly frustrated with the fees they are required to pay and many feel all fees and charges should be suspended entirely.

The owner of a Standard taxi plate pays a renewal fee of $1279.32 each and every year[3]. Every taxi driver renewing his license pays $337.86. Toronto collects a transfer fee of $4983.33 every time a plate is issued or transferred. With the issuance of 532 Toronto Taxi License plates alone, for example, the City generated over $2.6 million.

“The training course every new taxi driver must take generates about $1 million per year,” Moini points out.

UberX drivers do not pay license fees; do not pay renewal or transfer fees; and are not required to take the City’s training course.

“This month, City Councillors are scrambling to find every dollar they can to protect important programs. Next month, they may be debating Uber. We urge Councillors to consider the link between budget shortfalls and the fact that the City is allowing an unregulated foreign competitor which uses City services to operate freely on our streets while contributing nothing.”

On January 7th, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti sent a letter to the Budget Committee asking that all taxi fees be suspended until the current review is completed.

Taxi drivers are also required to collect HST from the first dollar of business that they do, Moini points out, and according to the City’s own estimates of 65,000 rides per day at an average cost of $25[4], Toronto cabbies collect $75 million in HST each year. 8 per cent of that goes back to the province of Ontario, another $6 million contribution which benefits the City of Toronto.

UberX drivers do not collect HST.

“Are you aware that with every Uber transaction that takes place in Toronto, the revenues are sent overseas electronically to be processed in the Netherlands in order to avoid taxation in Canada?” Moini asked Councillors.

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[1] A Framework for Change, 2014, Slide 5 http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-59885.pdf

[2] http://torontoist.com/2015/12/toronto-budget-shortfalls-threaten-transit-plans/

[3] http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=878415e205641410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=b3467729050f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

[4] A Framework for Change, 2014 Slide 5 http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-59885.pdf

 

TTA figures based on these assumptions/info from City of Toronto and industry members:

TTA assumptions Budget Committee