Mayor John Tory stands firm on low taxes in the face of massive budget shortfall, declining city services
TORONTO — A city government on the brink of collapse could not get by with any less money, so it went into deficit. Mayor John Tory declared, “We have no choice.”
The problem is that there is a choice.
Mayor John Tory has made it clear that he will not accept a budget smaller than $420 million and a half billion after what is known as the “recess budget” process begins on Monday.
There’s no question that city finances get in the way and that the city is facing a serious crisis, but that’s not the same as having no choice.
By declaring that the city can no longer afford to make the cuts the premier has suggested are necessary, and taking it to the public, Tory has given himself a clear choice between a government that accepts a financial cut to match the size of the deficit or the one that refuses to take that option — and faces the consequences.
The mayor didn’t do it to force a crisis, but to save the city.
“We have a government of division, not of division and consensus,” Tory said when news of the cuts first emerged.
“We have a budget of crisis,” Tory added Monday. “We have a crisis. Right now, we are dealing with crisis because the provincial government has decided to put us in a crisis.”
The province is putting so many programs on the budget that the budget is in jeopardy, but there’s an easy solution: Stop paying for them.
“We don’t have the choice to choose the one that’s worse,” City Manager Peter Wallace said Tuesday.
“I think it’s fair to say that the mayor has made that perfectly clear in terms of the cuts he thinks he needs to make. I think that the chief was just trying to offer back some fairness, some equity, some opportunity to try to work out a compromise…