Rob Ford’s finance figures continue to look rather arbitrary—still, he won’t give up his apocalyptic budget rhetoric
The National Post referred to the most significant cuts in the proposed 2012 budget as “highlights,” which we find slightly unsettling, but the paper does do a good job of rounding them up—closing outdoor swimming pools (both the wading and regular kinds), shutting down three homeless shelters…the list goes on. There’s also that 10 per cent TTC fare hike, which will see transit riders paying a premium to ride more crowded vehicles that come less often. Rejoice! But what’s as interesting as the cuts themselves is that many departments didn’t make the cuts they were supposed to—in other words, they didn’t fulfill Rob Ford’s desire for 10 per cent budget reductions across all departments.
Many of the cuts reflect Mr. Ford’s demand for 10 per cent cuts across most city departments. City Manager Joe Pennachetti admitted Monday morning that several departments missed the targets. He said Fire and EMS only managed a three per cent trim and Parks, Forest and Recreation managed a six per cent reduction.
We’ve said before that Ford’s demand for 10 per cent cuts is an arbitrary one. It assumes all departments are similarly bloated, when in reality some are likely not to be bloated at all. In fact, many are even—gasp—underfunded. Plus, the police managed to actually score a modest budget increase, and the EMS, fire and parks departments all remain defiant, even after Mike Del Grande’s comments that “nobody should be untouchable.” Nonetheless, Ford continues to discuss his demands in near-apocalyptic language. But that groups can duck his 10 per cent demand suggests the city’s finances aren’t nearly as bad as he says they are.
• Facing $139M surplus, Ford wants to cut $88M in services [Toronto Star]
• Ford’s 2012 Toronto budget includes hikes in property tax, transit fares [Globe and Mail]
• Toronto budget 2012 highlights [National Post]