Rob Ford asks Queen’s Park for money just days after claiming Toronto has $50 million to spare
It’s never easy for a mayor to wrangle funding from Queen’s Park, but the process is especially tricky when that same mayor spends his days telling the world that his city has cash to spare.
This is exactly Rob Ford’s situation. Right now, at a special city council meeting he called just for the purpose, Ford is leading a campaign to submit a request to the provincial government for help paying off an estimated $106 million in damages related to December’s ice storm. A report from the city manager notes that the province has, in the past, been relatively tight-fisted with disaster-relief money. We suppose it never hurts to ask.
But ice-storm-saviour Rob Ford has a doppelgänger, and his name is I-can-cut-your-taxes Rob Ford. On Wednesday, at a meeting of city council’s budget committee, Ford told reporters that he has a way of cutting $50 million out of the 2014 municipal budget. Savings of that magnitude would enable the city to hike property taxes 1.75 per cent in 2014, as opposed to the staff-recommended hike of 2.5 per cent. Ford has not elaborated on how, exactly, he’d achieve those savings. From what we know of this year’s budget, it seems unlikely that there’s an easy way to do it.
Think about this situation from premier Kathleen Wynne‘s perspective. She may be able to come up with some money for Toronto. Or, she could let Ford be the one on the hook for funding, since he seems so sure he’s up to the task. Why should the province risk a tax hike when Toronto won’t?