Friday, October 22, 2004

Christopher Hume babbles

I'm high-lighting this column in yesterday's Toronto Star because it typifies the rants we continually hear and read from so-called urban prophets and those who blindly follow them: - Toronto's poverty was no accident

This has just about all of the features and arguments from articles and editorials - from The Star and The Globe and Mail - over the last few years.

Toronto is short-changed on taxes:

The $9 billion in net outflow has been bandied about frequently. Undoubtedly, Toronto citizens pay more in taxes than we get back in services and transfers. What seems to escape the attention of those who use this figure is that this is a direct result of: 1. High-marginal tax rates
AND 2. Equalization payments between the provinces . In fact, the net outflow per capita from Toronto residents pales in comparison to the net outflow from Toronto's neighbours in the 905 region. Per figures calculated by Mark Mullins of the Fraser Institute:

Net outflow per householf byCounty/Area

Halton: ...$25,928
York: .........$23,056
Peel: ..........$13,918
Waterloo: .$10,891
Durham ....$10,861
Wellington: $10,034
Toronto: .....$9,497

Ontario average: $7,037

So yes - Toronto is shortchanged - but others are shortchanged by a much larger amount. Toronto is actually closer to the lower Ontario average than it is to the higher weighted average of the 905 communities. Yet 905 communities aren't crying poverty in the way Toronto is.

Mix and mismatch figures

Hume seemlessly executes the mix-and-mismatch slight of hand so typical of the 'new deal for cities' ranters. The figures on job growth are for the GTA - including Toronto and its 905 belt. The new-dealers like to tout Toronto as the engine of the Canadian economy. "Toronto" as the GTA does house the most important engine of the Canadian economy. However, "Toronto" as the city itself is the non-functioning cylinder that is dragging down the GTA's performance.

New-dealers like to include the 905 part of the GTA when touting how important the area is. However, when it comes to doling out $$$, they publicly scoff at funding projects in the 905 belt. In fact TTC chair Howard Moscoe has publicly derided funding York Region's busway-based project - calling the YRT a 'Mickey Mouse transit system' .

Blame the Harrisites

Hume and his fellow lefties at The Star can't pass up an opportinuty to excoriate former Ontario Premier Mike Harris. However, the figures on the economy and employment show that the damage was actually at the hands of fell0w-traveller Bob Rae and his NDP government. Rae's high-tax, high-regulation policies had Ontario's economy at death's door. Worst hit was Toronto - which lost over 150,000 jobs during the gloom of the Rae years.

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