2011 Toronto budget roundup and reaction
Shortly after Toronto City Council passed the 2011 budget by a vote of 31-14, Rob Ford proclaimed that it was a "great day for Toronto residents." Although major questions loom on account of the $774-million hole facing the City in 2012 — a subject bizarrely decried off-limits by Speaker Frances Nunziata — as promised, there will be no property tax increase this year. And while Ford and his supporters claim that there were no major service cuts associated with the budget, not everyone was buying it.
So in lieu of an editorial, let's take a look at some the numbers and get some reaction from the mayor, councillors and City Hall observers, professional and otherwise. For a full breakdown on today's votes, check here.
$13.326 billion — Total size of the 2011 budget (Operating, Capital and Rate Supported Services).
$370 million — One-time reserves used to help balance the budget.
$57 million — The amount of efficiencies (or gravy) found to help balance the 2011 books.
$3 million — The cost of external consultants who will comb the City's finances in an effort to address next year's hole.
19-25 — Breakdown of the vote for and against providing the Urban Affairs Library the funding it requires to stay open.
"We've listened to the taxpayers. We campaigned hard. And we definitely slowed down the gravy train and by 2012 hopefully we'll put an end to the gravy train." — Mayor Rob Ford
"The reality for many people in this city is that Rob Ford's first budget means major cuts and not one of them will go to help next year's budget" — Councillor Adam Vaughan
"This is a Michael Jackson moonwalk budget.... It pretends to go forward but it really goes backwards. We are creating a crisis that will make it impossible for us to go without real pain in 2012." — Councillor Joe Mihevc
"What we have to do is have experts take a look at how the city conducts its business and how we provide the service to the public to make sure we are spending our money as efficiently and effectively as possible." — Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday
"This is not a budget that cuts any gravy but it sets us up to cut the meat and potatoes next year." — Councillor Mike Layton
"We're in a hole next year and everybody knows it. Rule number one when you're in a hole is stop digging. This budget goes a long way to solve a situation coming up." — Councillor Paul Ainslie
Great day for Toronto residents - tax freeze for 2011 - 0% tax increase passed at #TOcouncil #TOpoli #Toronto #yyz
I get that budgets are hard to balance, but TO's 2012 deficit is $744M+ and #TOCouncil has just frozen property taxes. How is this rational?
Rocco Rossi's recall idea is looking pretty good to me right about now! #ineverthoughtidsaythat #TOpoli #TOcouncil
Now entering Bizarro World. #TOCOUNCIL
Council voted 44-1 to accept free money from the province to fight HIV. The dissenter? Rob Ford. Like the good old days.
Re-assuring that #TOcouncil CAN mention 2013 #TObudget (cuts'll really hurt), 2014 (#voteTO budget), 2015 (PanAm Games), 2016 (PAG overruns)
The #TOcouncil that inherited a large surplus now faces a 2012 shortfall of $310 per person. In summary, they are horrible fiscal managers.
@TOMayorFord thanks for trading mild discomfort today for outright pain next year. #tocouncil #topoli
The absence of (Gravy Train) evidence is not evidence of (Gravy Train) absence. #TOcouncil #TOpoli
Hammond: Yes, we understand the dinosaurs could get out of their cages but right now the agenda item refers only to merchandising #TOCouncil
Photo by Ian Muttoo in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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