Tuesday, January 04, 2005

That great sucking sound

WOW it took The Star a whole three editions into the New Year to resume the drumbeat of its propaganda campaign to get even more money for the City of Toronto.

TheStar.com - Editorial: Cities need to see a truly `new deal'

In recent years, the City has been granted:

- relief from paying GST on the goods and services it purchases
- repeated bailouts from Queen's Park - usually very loosely disguised as special funding for some purpose or other
- the lion's share of the Ontario governments dispersal of gas tax money to its municipalities
- roughly $1 billion in towards the TTC capital program over the next 5 years

What the editorial forgets to mention is that the City of Toronto has other fiscal advantages:
- roughly $150 million is transferred in from Toronto's neighbouring municipalities (York, Peel, Halton..) each year under the GTA Social Services Pooling arrangement
- Toronto charges a far higher mill rate on commercial and industrial than neighbouring areas (and than any other jurisdication in Canada for that matter)

Furthermore, the most built-up areas have natural advantages in raising property taxes over less built-up ones. When a merger between Brooklyn and New York (then only Manhattan) was being considered back in the 19th century - it was Manhattan that held the fiscal advantage. Pour neighbour Brooklyn felt the fiscal pressure to join - rather than the other way around.

In Toronto, the natural state has been turned on its head. Despite its natural advantages, the City is having to sponge from the less built up areas - i.e. from those 'sprawling suburbs' that are supposedly so inefficient.

The fact is that Toronto does not have a revenue problem - it has a spending problem. Its municipal spending per capita drarfs other Canadian cities - be they small, medium or large. Toronto is a monument to the inevitable failure of socialism, pandering to unions with gold-plated contracts, phony budgeting and the raiding of reserves.

Now The Star would like the rest of the country to pay for this mess. Surely step one would be for Toronto to book itself into Spendaholics Anonymous. Instead, Mayor Miller and his NDP cabal, and The Star continue to deny the problem - breaking open more and more money bottles on a regular basis.

Canadian should listen carefully for a great sucking sound. This will be your money headed here to help pay for our gold-plated union contracts.

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