The Toronto Star’s Paul Moloney:
City departments that struggled to meet directives to slash 5 per cent of their annual budgets are now being ordered to double that, for a total cut equivalent to Toronto’s entire parks and recreation budget.
Cutting 10 per cent would save $375.9 million and go halfway toward filling the $774 million gap in the 2012 operating budget.
This is going to be a bloodbath. Asking departments who just cut their budgets by 5% this year to look at a further cut of 10% is more than a little insane. We’re not a city with a declining population or a stagnant economy. We’re a city that enjoys low property tax rates compared to 905 municipalities and has been getting screwed by a bad financial relationship with the provincial government for more than a decade now.
We’re also a city that should be continuously looking to find ways to save money and create efficiencies, of course. The problem with this administration is that the Rob Ford campaign estimated that there were $230 million in potential savings immediately available in the city’s operating budget. Since taking office, they’ve only been able to identify a small fraction of that figure.
Bright side: Mike Del Grande seems committed to maintaining the land transfer tax. Without it, the city’s budget gap for 2012 would be more than a billion dollars. The Toronto Real Estate Board is mad about this. Duh.