Rob Ford: Cut taxes. Oops, no money for TTC

One of the first things Rob Ford did when taking over the show was to repeal the vehicle registration. According to him, the public didn’t like it and as their champion, it was his mandate to bring to the people what they wanted. Stop the gravy train!
Yesterday the Toronto Transit Commission held the first of four proposed open houses about their plan to cut services along 48 bus routes considered to be underutilised. The TTC feels the money saved from reducing services along these routes would allow them to invest in other routes needing help during rush hour. It seems to make sense.

According to CTV, the people who met at Toronto’s Metro Hall were none too pleased by cuts which would directly impact their access to everything from hospitals to recreational events. I had to chuckle when I read this:

Coun. Janet Davis (Ward 31 Beaches-East York) said the TTC’s budget limitations were frustrating considering Mayor Rob Ford rushed to cut a vehicle registration tax that injected $64 million into public coffers.

She said that the vote to approve the tax cut passed before council was made aware that it would come at the expense of transit riders.

"I think that if councillors had known that the $64 million that was cut with the vehicle registration tax was going to come off the backs of transit riders, there might have been a different vote," said Davis.

Rob Ford was voted in by a public who seemed to be very much disenchanted with a number of high profile fiascos at city hall. I did not, I do not disagree that a house cleaning was in order. However, Mr. Ford while tapping into the public’s thirst for buzzwords and catchy slogans kept uttering from time to time some ominous pronouncements which mathematically deserved to be thoroughly reviewed before implementation. I, like many, hate paying taxes. However, I recognise that taxes represent income for the government and just like me, if the government doesn’t have an income, it can’t spend money and if it can’t spend money that usually translates into me not getting something I want. Did Rob Ford properly connect the dots before moving ahead with his buzzwords and slogans? Did the public understand "robbing Peter to pay Paul"?

TTC: Proposed Changes in 2011
The TTC has detailed all their proposed changes for 2011 including these cuts in services. Highlights include:

  • Effective January 30, a fare increase of 10 cents. The page details increases for cash fares, tokens and passes.
  • Effective March 27, reallocation of some weekend and/or late night weekday bus service on routes where ridership is extremely low. The page details the various routes where service will be cut back and what times.
Royson James of the Toronto Star
In his opinion piece Council lefties bleed over ‘minor’ cuts (Jan 24/2011), Mr. James as a spectator reviews some of deliberations going at city hall over the budget. The impression I get is that the squabbling is petty and the participants seem determined to undermine Rob Ford. Work has to be done and sometimes decisions are not palatable to everybody. Get over it.

James writes:
Essentially, the budget debate is over; was over the day it started. Because of the huge surplus from last year, Mayor Ford was able to abolish the vehicle registration tax and freeze property tax and not raise transit fares.

Ford was elected on October 25, 2010. He has been in power for around three months. Item number three, not raise transit fares is going to be overturned on January 31, 2011. The other two items involve taxes which mean a loss of revenue for the city. Surpluses are great but have a habit of disappearing. Where are we all going to be later on this year?

Other rants about Ford

Rob Ford: Can I count on this man? – Jan 5/2011
Rob Ford plans on getting rid of Light Rail which costs less than a subway. Really?

Rob Ford drops the bag… er, ball – Dec 30/2010
Rob Ford plans on getting rid of the plastic bag tax of 5 cents. Really?

TTC: Essential Service vs. the Right to Strike – Dec 17/2010
Make the subway an essential service because strikes are so disruptive. Really?

TTC strike: each day costs $50 million. What!?! – Dec 20/2010
Make the subway an essential service because strikes are so costly. Really?

Click HERE to read more from William Belle.

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