A Better Budget For A Better City: Ideas For A Healthy Budget Process In Toronto

Budget decisions have a profound impact on our daily lives. From garbage collection, to public transit, to the safety of our neighbourhoods budgets are at the heart of community development. Good budget processes have the capacity to identify and address health and social inequalities. The City of Toronto 2012 budget process left much to be desired. From the core service review to marathon all night meetings and shortsighted recreational fee increases and tax cuts it was a budget process that fell short of what is needed for good city building. However, Toronto’s recent civic struggle has created a renewed interest in city politics, telling us that Toronto is ripe for a restructuring of our local governance systems, including our budget processes, to better reflect our collective urban identity. This report by Lisa Marie Williams, looks to other cities for good budget processes. It focuses on four jurisdictions – Calgary, Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia – to apply their strategies for better budget building to Toronto.

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