Mayor Rob Ford says the budget chief is tabling a motion for a five per cent reduction in the municipal land transfer tax.

“I cannot eliminate the land transfer tax but what I can do with the vote of council is to start phasing it out,” Ford said on Tuesday at city hall.

The mayor made the announcement as the budget committee met to debate the 2014 capital and operating budgets.

Ford had wanted a 10 per cent cut in the land transfer tax to be included in next year’s operating budget but the city said it would lose out on about $34.5 million, based on 2012 land transfer tax revenue figures.

Both Ford and the Toronto Real Estate Board argue the municipal land transfer tax should be cut as it’s a hindrance to home ownership.

The $9.6-billion operating budget being debated has a deficit of more than $200-million and an additional $43-million due to the provincial funding cuts that affect the city’s housing programs.

To balance the budget, city staff recommended a residential property tax hike of 2.5 per cent, which works out to about an extra $64 per household.

Ford said he wouldn’t support the 2014 budget because it was more than the 1.75-per-cent hike he was promising.

The difference between the two proposed taxes is about $18-million and Ford has argued that staff should be able to find those savings.

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Child care

The city manager is asking for $6.109 million for children’s service in the capital budget, and a 2014 cash flow of $5.014 million. He’s also recommending future year commitments of $3.350 million.

During last week’s public hearings, deputants pleaded for more child care space. Some speakers argued that the high cost of child care left them with no choice but to stay home, leading to unemployment and increase use of public benefits. They argued it would be better to spend that money on subsidized daycare, leaving parents free to return to work.

Transit

The city manager is recommending that council approve $855 million in funding for the TTC in the capital budget. He’s also recommending a 2014 cash flow of $1.08 billion and future year commitments of $3.6 billion.

Part of that money would go to addressing the state-of-good-repair backlog and the York-Spadina subway extension.

The city manager is also recommending $14.5 million for Scarborough subway extension, and no future money for the project.

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