There are longer-term health and social costs to cuts in services, but modest tax increases can prevent further cuts and preserve the services that Torontonians rely on. Getting Past Zero: Maintaining Services And Balancing Toronto’s Budget, urges councillors to put the health of Torontonians first and consider the health impacts of budget decisions.
Gross operating expenditures increased by just 0.2 percent between 2011 and 2012, a rate far below inflation and population growth. This means that we spent less on each resident in 2012 than in 2011.
Some Toronto city councillors consider this reduction in real, per-capita spending a victory. This lopsided view is like a family celebrating lower grocery bills without noticing that their children are hungry.
City councillors have important choices to make in the 2013 budget: they can allow city services to continue to erode, or they can modestly increase taxes to enhance the health of our city and Torontonians.