Toronto’s budget committee heard from more than 100 speakers on Monday and Tuesday, many of them advocating for subsidized child care and increased transit spending.
The committee is considering its $9.6-billion operating budget and $18.6-billion capital budget before the budgets go before city council.
Transit was a hot topic on Tuesday.
“If General Motors was running the TTC, they’d close the plant down,” Coun. Doug Ford said, in response to a resident’s concern over the TTC fare hike.
Richard Underhill, another resident, has asked council to reconsider the TTC fare hike, saying it’s still a lot of money for a Metropass. He added that it’s a lot for people who live on fixed income, especially seniors. TTC has the lowest subsidy per rider in North America.
Last week, city staff said the $9.6-billion operating budget is starting with a spending pressure of more than $200-million and an additional $43-million due to the provincial funding cuts that affect the city’s housing programs.
City staff recommended a residential property tax hike of 2.5 per cent, which works out to about an extra $64 per household.
That would cover existing programs and services, as well as the Scarborough subway and $14 million in new services.
The new and enhanced services next year include $4 million in additional funding for the TTC, $3.1 million for 56 new paramedics and $4 million to support the arts.
Mayor Rob Ford said he wouldn’t support the 2014 budget because it was more than the 1.75-per-cent hike he was promising. And it doesn’t include his promise of a 10-per-cent cut in the municipal land transfer tax.
The difference between the two proposed taxes is about $18-million and Ford has argued that staff should be able to find those savings.
With files from CityNews.ca staff