The Mayor’s Fiscal Cliff Plan is Not the Best

Mayor John Tory stands firm on low taxes in the face of massive budget shortfall, declining city services The mayor and city manager have made the case that a one per cent property tax…

The Mayor’s Fiscal Cliff Plan is Not the Best

Mayor John Tory stands firm on low taxes in the face of massive budget shortfall, declining city services

The mayor and city manager have made the case that a one per cent property tax increase would be a way of holding their collective heads above water and they believe that is the best plan possible.

But the reality is that City Council is in the midst of a budget crunch. A massive provincial deficit has placed Toronto Finance Director Peter Wallace in a bind that threatens what little savings exist in city government in the face of soaring spending on the unfunded pension liabilities of former mayor Rob Ford’s failed council and a host of other unfunded commitments.

On Tuesday, the Ford administration is expected to reveal the fiscal cliff plan when a government-backed panel is set to hear it on Wednesday. The Ford administration had a lot of work to do, but it didn’t get much of it done, and it had a lot of time to do it.

“This is a plan that could be cooked up in the next four or five years,” Councillor Rob Ford, who is spearheading the push to freeze property taxes says in an interview with the Star. “Some of the issues that need to be taken care of are things that we can do and it’s a matter of when.”

Councillor Shelley Carroll, who had put forward a plan to freeze the property tax rate at the same rate of inflation, on Tuesday backed away from the idea, telling the Star: “I am trying to be as constructive as I can. I am not afraid to say I’m not going to do it.”

Councillor Norm Kelly, the leader of the council’s budget committee says he’s not convinced the mayor’s proposals are “the best, the only, or the right one” to bring about the kind of fiscal stability that could help the city avoid a large-scale fiscal crisis. “He has indicated over and over again that you can’t just freeze wages and pensions.”

The city has a big hole to fill with more than

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