$7.2 billion reasons why Toronto should be missing Rob Ford
What price Ford-hate, Toronto? At least $7.2 billion over the next four years, with certainly more to come. Was it worth it, folks?
In October 2010, riding a wave of righteous taxpayer indignation, populist-conservative city councilor Rob Ford was elected Mayor of Toronto. Despite being demonized immediately by the vested interests of the modern liberal big-government industry and its useful idiots in the media culture, Ford’s four-year term successfully accomplished what no one else could: a virtual halt to new spending at City Hall, a tight lid on property tax increases, and a halt to the stampede of new taxes and fees being imposed as “revenue tools” by the previous lib-left regime.
From 2010 to 2014, the city’s operating budget increased from $9.2 billion to $9.6 billion – a paltry 4% increase over four years, or less than 1% per year on a compound basis. Similarly, residential property taxes were increased at 0%, 2.5%, 2%, and 2.5% over Ford’s term, for an average of less than 2% annually. Ford’s term also saw the elimination of the Toronto-only car surcharge (a taxpayer savings of $60 per car per year), an elimination of the mandatory five-cent plastic bag fee, and the defeat of all attempts to add new “sin taxes” on roads, booze, and entertainment.
In October 2014, tens of thousands of mid-Toronto bourgeoisie, and south-Toronto Millennials, were convinced that a vote for the Ford Brothers was socially unacceptable, tipping the scale of victory to John Tory’s side. Tory’s success with this demographic laid in his campaign’s ability to fool them with this basic message: “John Tory will give you Ford’s policies, without the drama”.
Here we are, five months after Election Day, and the proof is in: It was a big lie. The drama may be gone, but the policies are gone, too.
John Tory’s first budget, passed on March 11 by a council now unified behind an open spigot, increased spending from $9.7 billion to $11.5 billion – a 19% increase in year one! This is the new spending baseline going forward, in an era where spending never goes down. Even if you assume that the Mayor holds the line at $11.5 billion from here until his term ends in 2018 (fat chance), we’re talking about a cumulative $7.2 billion in new operations spending in his term. Compare that to Rob Ford’s four-year cumulative new-spending total of $1.6 billion.
This massive spending increase has been matched so far by a residential property tax increase of 3.2% for 2015, and huge increases in transit fares, water rates, and garbage collection fees. Hold on to your wallets, folks. This is only the beginning. The re-introduction of the $60/year vehicle registration tax is back on the agenda for 2016, and the debate over the imposition of even more “revenue tools” has already begun.
Well before the 2014 election campaign, when John Tory was a simple Ford-bashing talk radio host, his nickname in Ford Nation had become “John Liberal”. How right we were.
As it stands here at the end of April, 2015, we can hope that a new awakening of righteous taxpayer indignation will arise before the Liberal tax-and-spend agenda moves too far along its inevitable self-destructive path – a path that ultimately leaves only carnage in its wake.
But more importantly at this moment, we can pray for the man who, for four years, held the line against all odds. Godspeed, Councillor Ford, as you head under the knife in less than two weeks, hopefully with the ultimate result of leaving cancer behind for good.
(Photo: Rick McGinnis)
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