January 9, 2016
Group portrait of Toronto city council 2014-18 at City Hall in Toronto on Thursday December 11, 2014. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)
TORONTO – When Toronto’s 2016 budget hits the council floor in February councillors will have to duke it out to make sure their priorities get the cash.
The Sun asked four councillors what they predict will be the biggest budget battles next month.
Here’s what they said:
“I think the big debate should be revenue tools. We’ve tossed around many over the years. I think we need to get serious. We can’t keep doing these band-aid solutions. We need to pick some concrete ones. I’m a big believer in the hotel tax. Most major U.S. cities fund all their public art and programs through a hotel tax and it’s a pretty benign tax.”
“The final number. To be very candid, I don’t know if there will be one fight or if there’s going to be a number of different hard discussions at council. Whether it be taxes or specific items that are priorities to some but not others. But that’s healthy. We shouldn’t all agree on everything initially. It’s important to test and challenge.”
“There is a $67-million package (of new and enhanced programs), it’s how to fund that. Depending on how that goes, other things will cascade from it.”
“The elephants in the room continue to be police services and the TTC. Based on their governance structures it’s very hard for council to actually go in there an reduce and bring them to a reasonable budget level. Those two items continue to be floor fights.”
This article can be found in its original form at: http://www.torontosun.com/2016/01/09/councillors-predict-the-budget-fights-ahead