News / Toronto

Tory hopes to balance Toronto budget by funding less than half of new commitments

Tory said the poverty reduction strategy will be funded, but declined to disclose what else he proposes gets funding and what he wants to see cut.

Mayor John Tory says his plan to funding only about 40 per cent of the planned service improvements is in line with other budget years.

Liz Beddall / Metro

Mayor John Tory says his plan to funding only about 40 per cent of the planned service improvements is in line with other budget years.

Mayor John Tory expects to present a plan to council that would balance the budget by funding about 40 per cent of the $67 million in new commitments politicians have made in the past year.

The poverty reduction strategy will be a priority, he said in a Thursday interview at Metro that covered everything from pedestrian safety to Trudeau to pizza. Tory declined to say what else will be included, saying that will be clear when several motions are made at a budget meeting next week.

Tory makes no apologies for not funding everything but cited a commitment to making “significant new investments in the life of the city” and keeping property tax increases at the rate of inflation.

“I actually do reject — and this is me being honest — the notion that you just take the list and say, ‘we should just do all of it,’” he said.

“I think you will have a budget that reflects a balance between those who would say, as in prior times, over the last four years, ‘Let’s cut the TTC to sort of somehow make these numbers work better’ and those who would say, ‘Let’s do everything. Let’s raise taxes by whatever amount is required.’

“I’m in neither of those camps.”

The mayor said he’s been working hard on the budget —“certainly” harder than Rob Ford ever did, and “probably harder than most mayors,” he added.

The $67 million in commitments council has made includes, among other things, starting subway service earlier on Sundays, improvements to bus service, accelerated repairs at Toronto Community Housing buildings, implementing lower speed limits in residential neighbourhoods along with enhancing parks, libraries and arts programming.

The poverty reduction strategy, approved by councillors last year, is a 20-year plan to reduce inequality by improving support and opportunities for people living on low incomes. It draws on money from across city departments but requires $6 million in additional funding for 2016.

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