TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto can bring its
budgetary shortfall down to zero without gutting city services and
selling off assets, a new report by the Wellesley Institute says.
Countdown To Zero: Balancing Toronto's Budget, looks at the city's annual budgeting process over the past five years
and shows that the fiscal challenges facing city council this year are
What's different this year is that Mayor Ford's decisions to freeze
property tax rates and cancel the Personal Vehicle Tax cost the city
$132 million in revenues.
For the last five years the City of Toronto has started its budget
process with a budgetary shortfall of over half a billion dollars. And
every year the city brings the shortfall down to zero, without gutting
city services or selling off valuable assets. The report demonstrates,
step-by-step, how the city can do the same thing this year.
"It isn't too late. Councillors can make budgetary decisions that build
our city, rather than cutting services that Torontonians rely on," says
Sheila Block, the Director of Economic Analysis at the Wellesley
Institute, and the report's author.
Charting a way out:
$131 million is being saved through measures already announced (TTC fare
increase, other revenue increases).
Reversing last year's property tax freeze and increasing this year's
property tax rate by 3 percent, to a total increase of 6 percent — two
years' worth of normal increases — would increase revenues by $136
Matching the average amount the city has saved over the last five years
through cost cutting and efficiencies will reduce costs by $98 million.
Assuming the 2011 surplus is consistent with the average surplus of the
previous 5 years, $181 million will be available.
Accessing the $88 million from the tax stabilization fund and
readjusting the projected increase in costs of salaries and benefits to
reflect a more likely increase of $116 million (double last year's
increase) will reduce the shortfall by $188 million.
The remaining $41 million budget shortfall is less than the revenues
lost through the cancellation of the Personal Vehicle Tax.
The Wellesley Institute is a Toronto-based non-profit and non-partisan
research and policy institute, focused on developing research and
community-based policy solutions to the problems of urban health and
SOURCE The Wellesley Institute
For further information:
For more information & to arrange an interview, contact: Melissa Goldstein 416-366-4384