(Originally written July 19th)
If you haven’t heard yet, city council voted earlier this week to defer the mayor’s recommended use of the city’s new taxing powers (see: The City of Toronto Act) until October.
According to Toronto City Manager Shirley Hoy, not implementing the land transfer and vehicle registration taxes has left the city with over $356 million in lost revenue.
Subsequently, today saw crippling cuts announced to the TTC’s budget (article).
The concentrated focus of these cuts as well as the spur-of-the-moment way in which they were announced seems transparently political.
Rather than cutting programs here and there, the city has directed all its cuts (maybe even more than necessary) to the TTC, announcing it in an intentionally shocking way that has likely left most citizens both outraged and slightly confused.
The result is that the city’s ‘we need more money’ cause instantly gains more public attention which will in turn likely lead to an increased level of public pressure on the provincial government with little over two months left before the election.
The logic seems to be, ‘Sure, in the meantime we might have to suffer with an even more inadequate transit system than usual, but once the provincial election comes around we might actually see some real money!’
The TTC have decided to defer all cuts until October (article).
Further cuts have been announced, lowering the budget of emergency services by 30 million dollars (artcle).
This fits with the theme since the province likes to mention how they paid for 30 new EMS vehicles as well as half of the subsequent staffing and maintenance costs back in 2002.