Among challenges confronting Toronto’s next mayor, none looms larger than fixing a chronic budget shortfall that if left to fester will ultimately threaten the city’s well-being. Yet with just six weeks remaining before election day, none of Toronto’s leading mayoral candidates has adequately addressed this issue.
That’s not to say they have been silent on fiscal matters. Quite the contrary. There have been promises of tax cuts and service expansions, hiring freezes and asset sales, all spiced with repeated vows to “cut the fat” at city hall. Little of this addresses the depth and breadth of Toronto’s budget mess, however. Continue reading →
In my first audio post I introduced the structural deficit. This is the second audio post on the Toronto Budget and the structural deficit. Toronto’s expenditures are significantly more than its revenues. The single biggest expenditure is labour – and unionized labour at that.
I listened to the CP24 Mayoral debate on July 20 and heard Rob Ford and Rocco Rossi talk about how Toronto’s spending is out of control. Toronto’s biggest expense is its employees. Their wages have been rising far faster than the rate of inflation. Furthermore, they are unioned and have the ability to shut Toronto down. (Think of the garbage strikes of 2002 and 2009.) Do we really need any employees at all? Would it be possible to outsource everything?
I came across the following article about Maywood California – town that did just that. Furthermore, they seem happier for it. Continue reading →
The city’s consolidated financial statements for 2009 — to be discussed at audit committee Wednesday morning — should be required reading for all mayoralty candidates and would-be councillors. Continue reading →
BY PHILIP SLAYTON ● The Toronto municipal election is upon us. So far, there is little evidence of big issues being discussed seriously. Perhaps we cannot expect much, over the summer at least, when the weather is warm and the spirit lazy.
Toronto seems a city in decline. The biggest evidence is deteriorating public transport. Every great city offers its citizens fast, frequent, efficient and comprehensive public transport. Increasingly, the TTC fails to do this. Its routes, particularly subway routes, are inadequate; its facilities, particularly subway stations, are drab and poorly maintained; customer service and employee moral are at low ebb. A friend returning from New Delhi praised the impressive subway system in that Indian city. It is Toronto that has Third World public transportation. Continue reading →
Mayor David Miller is shown at a pre-budget news conference last year. Ben Dachis and Colin Busby argue that the current budget process makes it difficult to determine why, of even whether, the city has met its fiscal goals.
COLIN MCCONNELL/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
The release of the City of Toronto operating budget on Feb. 16 will be the public’s first glimpse of the city’s likely financial shape in 2010.
However, a look back at previous budgets – and the audited reports that accompany them at year’s end – reveals there may be more to understanding these documents than the figures in them suggest. Continue reading →
As the candidates for mayor of Toronto jostle for position, each of them has suggestions for dealing with the city’s budget deficit: outsource Toronto Hydro, says Rocco Rossi; get the province to kick in more money, says Joe Pantalone; do business in a different way, says Giorgio Mammoliti; freeze hiring for all but essential services, says George Smitherman. Continue reading →
City budget chief Shelley Carroll and Mayor David Miller answer questions Feb. 16, 2010 after the introduction of the city’s 2010 operating budget.
LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
The recently released City of Toronto operating budget for 2010 has made one thing clear: fixing the city’s finances has become the most pressing issue in this year’s mayoral campaign. Continue reading →