First bell in what will likely be a very loud campaign by municipalities across the Province of Ontario if Toronto receives yet another bailout, especially if it comes in the form of a 'no strings attached' cheque.
Tax loads: Toronto's fiscal challengeH/T to the Windsor Star editorial board for being one of the first to express this opinion. Hopefully they won't be the only one, or the last one to do so.
Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2006
... City of Windsor politicians and staff worked long and hard to find savings using a zero-based budgeting process. It wasn't easy -- difficult decisions had to be made -- but it appears they were able to hold the line on taxes and will actually be able to offer their constituents a tax break.
Many Essex County ratepayers won't be so fortunate. Voters in Amherstburg, Essex and Tecumseh and other area municipalities, for example, are staring a property tax hike square in the face and they won't be getting the same kind of money to cushion their tax increases that's anticipated by Toronto.
If the Ontario government has money to throw around, it should give it back to the people it took it from and let Toronto make the hard choices necessary to hold the line on taxes. This is the provincial government, after all, that slammed taxpayers with a health levy after explicitly promising not to raise taxes.
Any extra cash in provincial coffers should be used to lower taxes for residents of every municipality in the province, not just vote-rich Toronto.
Toronto should face its financial problems the way Windsor and other diligent municipalities have. If Toronto councillors don't want to raise taxes excessively, they should sharpen their budgetary pencils, tighten their belts and show the resolve to make difficult decisions in a bid to trim costs.