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Tory says he hopes city can avoid 'second tax bill' in wake of Ford gov't cuts
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019 7:11AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2019 9:21AM EDT
Mayor John Tory says he hopes the city can “avoid a second tax bill” after Toronto’s city manager said the municipality may need to introduce one to offset recent funding cuts by the province.
Over the past few weeks, the Ford government has announced nearly $180-million in cuts to city departments, including Toronto Public Health and Children’s Services.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Chris Murray, Toronto’s city manager, said the municipality may need to reopen this year’s already-approved budget to find a way to deal with the shortfall.
Murray identified as second tax bill as a possible solution.
Speaking to CP24 on Wednesday morning, Tory said he hopes the city does not have to take that course of action.
“I hope because the province will realize that actually imposing these kinds of cuts in the middle of the budget year is so ridiculous,” Tory told CP24 on Wednesday morning.
“No business people would ever do that… You sit down together and find these efficiencies as opposed to sending emails almost in the middle of the night saying more cuts.”
The mayor noted that the city has “worked hard” to ensure that a balanced budget was achieved with inflation-only tax increases.
“We knew that people needed the services on the one hand but also had an affordability issue,” he said.
Tory said the province’s way of “finding efficiencies” is to “jam the costs they have” on to the municipality and run a deficit, an option the city does not have.
“I hope we can avoid a second tax bill but we’ve got to sort of look at these things in an objective way and achieve that balance between the services that people need… and the finances of people’s own bank accounts in terms of taxes,” Tory added.
At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors voted almost unanimously in favour of a motion to ask the province to reverse the cuts.
The only councillor who did not support the motion was Premier Doug Ford’s nephew, Coun. Michael Ford.
“I think we all have to be a part of working together in finding efficiencies,” he said.
-With files from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson