The Toronto Star’s David Rider, in an article discussing the shrinking possibility that Mayor Rob Ford will be able to eliminate the land transfer tax during this term of office:
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said he can’t imagine the tax disappearing next year and wouldn’t speculate on when it will be scrapped, adding, “that money has already worked its way into the system to pay for spending increases and new employees.
“Who knew during the election we were $774 million in the hole? I didn’t know.”
The gap between spending and revenue at the start of the budget cycle in 2010, Miller’s last year in office, was $443 million. In 2009 it was $679 million.
Rider’s being a good reporter, so he only hints at what I’ll just say outright: either Holyday is admitting that he hasn’t read a city budget document in years or he is being completely disingenuous with his claim that this year’s budget gap is a surprise.
For David Miller’s last budget, the opening pressure was actually $821 million, larger than this year’s shortfall. It only got down to $443 million after cost cutting, user fee hikes and other measures. Holyday was there. He read the budget. Opening pressures in the same ballpark have been dealt with by council essentially every year since amalgamation. Holyday was there for every single one of them.
Beyond that, the deputy mayor is seemingly making the claim that the city’s financial problems were not a known quantity during an election campaign that was largely fought-and-won over the issue of the city’s financial problems.