Toronto Mayor David Miller just proposed a whack of sweeping cuts to Toronto's TTC and other core services.
Although this is nowhere near as shocking as Argentina's cheating victory over Chile and the brawl that followed, it's enough to get Torontonians well and truly riled up.
Among the Mayor's suggestions:
As I drove to work and soaked up the news, my only questions was, How did it come to this?
Mayor Miller says this city has been in a crisis for a 'long time.' That councilors 'knew this was coming'. But how can a major metropolis like Toronto be reduced to a subsistence economy?
Miller blames the recent veto of his proposed land transfer and vehicle tax legislation, but clearly this crisis has been brewing for a while.
The province says nothing can be done. 'We'll help the city review it's books' says Finance Minister Greg Sorbora, 'and make further savings where we can' Then what?
Just as Hamilton has been facing a budget crisis year over year, so too has Toronto been dipping its hand in the Hydro fund till and eking out an annual stipend with limited-time-offer provincial handouts, cost-of-living property tax increases and carefully selected service cuts. It's obviously not enough.
Social service downloading is the usual culprit in all of this but what irks me the most is the lack of forethought by our municipal officials.
As citizens, we are being asked to blame the province and make this 'an election issue.' But it was an election issue! A municipal one. When we voted in our four-year term of office Toronto city councilors, we mandated them to deal with this. It's your job!
We expected a lot better than Mayor Miller's thinly veiled land transfer tax grab too.
I hate tax grabs - we all do. There's nothing worse than being tricked out of your money only to see it vanish into a vat labeled, 'municipal services'.
Here's an idea for Mayor Miller - why not link some of our taxes directly to services? A vehicle tax to cover road maintenance? Fine! Road tolls to fund transit? Great idea? Pay-By-The-Bag fees for our garbage pick up? No problem!
Until Toronto city council starts to get the idea that citizens are more willing to pay for the services they receive, so long as they can see where the money is going, the sooner we might start seeing our way through these on-going budget crises.
In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to keep playing politics.
But back to the real news of the day - did you see the Chile-Argentina game...?
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