Allison Hanes of Posted Toronto (the National Post Web Site) has an article about the City of Toronto’s Recession Budget…I thought in a recession we were supposed to curtail our spending? Everyone I know has, except Toronto City Hall… Check out the list of the interesting numbers at the bottom of her post. It is time for the citizens to challenge some of the Miller Camps thinking, beginning with the user fees (garbage) which push David Miller’s figures way past 4%, plus last year’s Land Transfer Tax and Vehicle Registration. How much has the City increased your budget since Miller took over in 2004? Why were Developers given a pass?
City unveils recession budget
Mayor David Miller this morning unveiled an $8.7 billion operating budget for 2009, which includes a 4% property tax hike for homeowners, which he said will only cost about 25 cents per day or an extra $89 per year for the average household.
Mr. Miller called the financial exercise a “recession budget” and said Torontonians need to look out for each other in bad economic times.
While Toronto Transit Commission fares have been frozen at $2.75 for the year, along with the vehicle registration and land transfer taxes, there will be modest increases to program and user fees.
An extra $30 million has been added to welfare programs, with the city budgeting for an average caseload of 90,000 recipients per month – higher than the approximately 80,000 at present, but lower than a projected 100,000 by the end of the year.
City manager Joe Pennachetti said savings of $102 million have been realized through this budget, $70 million of which came from not filling some staffing vacancies.
But already, fiscally conservative councillors are pouncing with Mike Shiner (Willowdale) calling this the “worst” budget for a recession because it will hit homeowners in the wallet when they can least afford it.
Meanwhile, Canadian Taxpayers Federation executive director Kevin Gaudet lashed out at the property tax hike of 4% for homeowners and 2% for businesses, saying the $83 million in new revenue it will generate could have been avoided by reigning in spending.
“He’s spending like a drunken sailor,” he exclaimed.
This year’s budget of $8.7 billion is up from $8.2 billion last year.
Here are some interesting numbers:
By the numbers
$70 million – the amount the $102 million efficiency the city achieved due to not filling some vacant positions.
$150 million – the amount a blue ribbon panel reported last year the city could save if it looked for efficiencies.
$679 million – the size of a budget shortfall the city was facing before it found ways to fill the hole.
$43 million – the amount taken from reserves to help bridget the gap.
0 – the amount the city now has left in its reserves for welfare.
22,000 – the additional number of seniors and disabled people eligible for property tax relief under expanded deferral and cancellation programs.
? – the hidden amount socked away under non-program expenditures for a wage increase offer to indoor and outdoor city workers but not revealed yesterday to avoid negotiating in public.”
$83 million – the amount in extra property tax revenue the city will take in from residential and commercial hikes.
$6.6 million – the amount of extra user fees the city will collect for a range of services.
$160 million – the amount the city is expecting to take in from the land transfer tax this year, which is down 25% from original projections of $240 million.
$46 million – the amount the city is expecting to collect from the vehicle registration tax this year.