Lame budget analogies

Budget Chief Mike Del Grande is, to his credit, making a point of attending the consultation sessions regarding the city’s core service review. This is a good thing. Less good are the analogies he’s giving reporters.

Here’s what he told The National Post’s Natalie Alcoba:

“We’ve done all kinds of crazy things down here,” budget chief Mike Del Grande told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ve sold our furniture to pay the rent. We are no different than any family in Toronto who spends more than we earn. We need to get a second job. We would love to send our kids to camp, but it may not be the most nice camp. Or maybe the kids don’t go to camp at all.”

via City turns to citizens to solve looming deficit | Posted Toronto | National Post.

See, the thing about that example is that you have to follow it through. The city is a struggling family, sure. Let’s go with that. But last year the city did have a part-time job. It paid more than $60 million per year. The city quit that job.

The city also ended the past year with a bit of money in the bank. But instead of investing that cash or keeping it around for future years, it decided to use that money to pay for groceries. Worse, it decided to forego taking a salary bump at the job that pays most of the bills. So the saved money disappeared really quickly.

And, of course, the city said nothing to the kids about the possibility of not going to camp at the last big family meeting. In fact, the city promised the kids they would be able to go to the same camp like always.

All this to say: pretending that the operating and capital budgets of a $12 billion metropolis is equivalent to the budget of a suburban family with a dog and 2.3 children is ridiculous.

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