Miller’s surplus is the gift that keeps on giving

Oh, yeah. You know that thing where it was revealed that the mayor secretly asked Dalton McGuinty for hundreds of millions of dollars? Despite the fact that he was once adamant that the city didn’t need provincial funding? The premier said no.

On another note: Sometimes I wonder if maybe Miller shouldn’t have just spent the 2010 surplus money on a city-owned hovercraft and spared us all the smoke and mirrors of the 2011 budget.

Kelly Grant and Karen Howlett with the Globe & Mail:

The mayor’s press secretary said that Toronto routinely asks for more money in its pre-budget submission to the province and this year is no different.

However, Adrienne Batra stressed that Mr. Ford didn’t need provincial aid to balance the city’s 2011 budget without a property-tax increase.

“There’s one fundamental difference,” Ms. Batra said. “The funding here was not needed to balance the (2011) budget.”

via McGuinty shoots down Ford’s request for more than $350-million – The Globe and Mail.

The obvious response to Ms. Batra is, of course, “Would you have been able to balance the 2011 budget without a property tax increase without prior year surpluses and reserves?”

Related to this is a “Talking Points Memo” memo circulated to  22 “friendly councillors” of the mayor’s office last week. Uncovered and posted by OpenFile Toronto’s Jonathan Goldsbie, it is all sorts of ridiculous at various points, but the capper is the last page, which gives justification for spending all surplus and reserve funds to balance the 2011 budget with no thought to 2012:

By applying all accumulated surpluses to the 2011 budget, we unmasked the true financial condition for all to see. The 2012 budget forecast reflects the true gap between the city’s revenues and spending habits.

Gee, thanks. It’s a bit like emptying out someone’s savings account just to make it really obvious how little money they make.

P.S. The 22 councillors who received the talking point memo? The results from the vote on the Tenant Defence Fund from last week probably serve as a good indication.

The “No” votes are Team Ford. I’m thinking Jaye Robinson would be considered a friendly too. Perhaps Doug Ford isn’t included in the list of 22 councillors since he works out of the mayor’s office.

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