Mayor John Tory stands firm on low taxes in the face of massive budget shortfall, declining city services, and growing concerns about the provincial government’s willingness to provide long-term funding for the City.
The Tory administration is going to make the cuts to city services it can get its hands on — in order to restore a balanced budget — with the help of the province.
“We have a balanced budget,” Tory said. “We made cuts, but I wouldn’t use the word cut. We cut our way to get it, but we don’t have to cut as much as we might have in terms of the way we balance it.”
While the city is cutting services in order to balance the budget, it is also cutting costs because the government has not yet restored funding for the city’s transit system and other critical services to the levels they once were at.
“Our revenues are going down for the first time in over ten years, and we are very, very vulnerable when it comes to revenue streams,” Tory said. “And on top of that, the province has cut the province in the last two years.”
He acknowledged that the province has restored funding to some services, as the NDP government did in the fall. But he noted there are still services in the city that the province wants to cut.
“People have concerns about where the money is and why the money wasn’t restored to the levels it was,” Tory said. “And so we have to make decisions based on those things.”
Tory said he wants to avoid the mistakes made by the previous municipal governments in the city, “which have put a lot of pressure on the City and its services, and I don’t want that repeated.”
“When we get this balanced budget, that’s when I will make the decisions,” Tory said. “And the people I will consult with are the people who are working directly for the City.”
The Mayor said he didn’t want to be part of the conversation about when services should be cut, saying he can only speak from his personal experience. However