In Toronto’s municipal election campaign, the most important issue facing property taxpayers is almost never discussed by the candidates for mayor and council.
It’s that Toronto’s finances are unsustainable.
Unless the incoming mayor and council are willing to engage in a multi-year policy of financial restraint — which council has avoided for decades — two bad things will happen.
First, the quality of life in Toronto to the extent it’s impacted by municipal government will continue to deteriorate.
Second, property taxpayers will continue to pay more for less.
Once the new mayor and council are elected, the same annual farce that has played out in Toronto for decades will likely repeat at city hall.
It will begin early next year when the city’s preliminary budget for 2019 — this year it’s $11.12 billion with a $25.98 billion, 10-year capital budget plan — will be presented to councillors, with a deficit north of $400 million, which the city can’t run under provincial law.
Then there will be predictable yelling for the cameras by councillors on the left that services must not only be maintained but increased, bolstered by noisy demonstrations from special interest groups in the council chamber, demanding their slice of the pie.