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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
Toronto Within Striking Distance of Balancing Budget
01/04/2004

As I reported yesterday, the additional cash that Dalton McGuinty has coughed up "for the TTC" is the package that the City was waiting for to balance its budget.

In addition, there seem to be promises that -- while not a full 2 cents per litre -- this budget will include some gas tax money for municipalities, including $20-million for Toronto.

The source for the above is a Globe and Mail article that quotes Budget Chief David Soknacki saying things are nearly wrapped up.

The $344-million shortfall is being closed as follows:

  • $92-million from cashing in Toronto Hydro equity
  • $70-million from the province "for the TTC"
  • $20-million from the province "for the TTC" in loan deferral
  • $33-million in a "rate-of-inflation" 3% property tax hike for residents
  • $26-million in a 1.5% property tax hike for businesses
  • $26-million in GST relief from Ottawa
  • $40-million in cuts, of which $30-million have been realized so far
  • $20-million in rumoured gas tax money

That only adds up to $327-million, but I may have missed something. The point is, we're almost there, and we're getting there in a way not very different from what was originally hoped for.

However, it is important to keep a few things in mind:

  • This is a survival budget that has cuts, draws down equity, and lets our infrastructure continue to crumble
  • The City shouldn't have to count on an arbitrary hand-out each year. We need a stable source of funding, or the ability to raise our own
  • Some of the annually recurring problems are based on unfair remnants of the Harris rules, that still haven't been changed at Queen's Park

So, it is nice to balance this year's budget, but we ultimately need a New Deal in Ontario.


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