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Toronto seeks funding to prevent service cuts, layoffs

Toronto Mayor John Tory is seeking “immediate funding commitments” from federal and state governments to help the city get out of the red. Service reductions and layoff warnings if no additional cash is available.

The council approved the 2022 operating budget in February, posting a deficit of $1.4 billion, subject to receiving additional funding from other levels of government.

In a letter sent Wednesday to both Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, the Conservative Party said the deficit now stands at about $815 million. He stressed that the shortages are “direct and only as a result of the impact of COVID-19.”

This includes lost revenue for the TTC, an increase in the number of shelters in the city, and lost revenue due to travel restrictions and reduced face-to-face work.

Tory warned that if Ford and Freeland don’t step up, a “significant reduction in service” may be required.

“Today, I reiterate my request for continued support from the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to help address the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the city’s finances so that we do not have to make significant cuts. I am writing this email to make sure that thousands of jobs will be lost if we impose massive tax increases or cut capital budgets that residents cannot afford to provide the services they need. Our economic recovery is threatened,” the letter said.

“All of the amounts requested are a direct result of the pandemic and necessary steps taken to address the consequences of the pandemic.”

While the city has received about $483 million in federal and state funding this year to address transportation-related shortages, Torrey said Toronto’s deficit “is well above this amount.” emphasized.

Nonetheless, the Conservatives will maintain their pledge to keep property taxes below inflation, raising them by 2.9% in 2022.

During local elections, the mayor said the budget would be balanced in return thanks to “prudent financial management,” revenues from the TTC, and partnerships with other governments. However, in the letter, the mayor appears to be expecting significant contributions from these partnerships to make up for the shortfall.

“Given our limited options for raising revenues and our inability to run fiscal deficits, we do not have the fiscal capacity to absorb these large shocks to our system. It also promises to remain committed to “finding efficiencies and offsets” to meet future budget challenges.

Tory wants Ford and Freeland to “commit immediate funding” by the end of the month for both 2022 and 2023.

CTV News Toronto has reached out to Ford and Freeland’s offices for comment.



Toronto seeks funding to prevent service cuts, layoffs

Source link Toronto seeks funding to prevent service cuts, layoffs

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