Toronto Council Splits Left And Right In Budget Battle


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Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and the Responsible Government Group tried to reduce the tax hike in the new city budget. (TORSTAR File Photo)

Toronto homeowners are facing a four per cent tax hike today despite efforts Tuesday night by an opposition bloc of city councillors to soften mayor David Miller’s budget blow.

An ‘alternate budget’, calling for a two per cent tax hike instead of four, was brought before council by Peter Milczyn, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, on behalf of a group of councillors calling themselves The Responsible Government Group.

The group also wanted council to freeze all city staff pay, freeze TTC fares and cut the number of staff hired by city hall. Their agenda was voted down by a vote of 19 to 26.

Some councillors such as Howard Moscoe, Eglinton-Lawrence, scoffed at the RGG’s proposals:

“We have a group that calls themselves responsible, but is proposing to cut jobs and the services we need during a recession responsible?” Moscoe said.

Moscoe added a four per cent tax hike would not cripple homeowners: “No one likes to increase taxes, but sometimes you’ve got to do it to make it work,” he said.

Moscoe alleged the RGG had plans to TTC service, such as the new bus and streetcar routes that run into off-peak hours.

Supporters of the group such as York South-Weston councillor Frances Nunziata shot back and said the package would preserve current services offered by the city.

Councillor Frances Nunziata (top left), of Ward 11 York South-Weston, supported the alternative budget. Mayor David Miller (bottom right) opposed the proposal. (Photo courtesy of Toronto City Clerk.)

Councillor Frances Nunziata (top left), of Ward 11 York South-Weston, supported the alternative budget. Mayor David Miller (bottom right) voted against the proposal. (Photo courtesy of Toronto City Clerk.)

“It’s a responsible budget,” Nunziata said. “It shows that councillors on this committee (the RGG) really care and are bringing forward an alternative that would assist the taxpayers.

“If we can achieve that, without reducing services, I don’t why these members of council are getting up and opposing it,” Nunziata said.

Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Karen Stintz,  a member of the RGG, said the city is facing budget problems because they did not institute a similar plan earlier.

“The reason we’re here today is because of the choices we didn’t make six years ago,” Stintz said.

She said that while the package was hardly bold, it “changes the course and sets us in a new direction.”

Etobicoke North councillor Rob Ford came out against raising taxes all together. He said there was ‘more than enough room’ for the city run its affairs without raising taxes at all.

For Ford, the best approach would be to cut what he sees as excess spending in city council. He pointed out examples such as councilor Adam Vaughan spending $8,500 on office furniture and RGG member Stintz, spending $4,000 on a vocal coach.

“You do what the private sector is doing,” Ford said. “You tighten your belt, you can’t go out and spend, spend, spend in the middle of a recession.”

Ford had close to 16 motions for proposed savings of approximately $156 million, many of which were not passed.

“This is absolutely wrong. This is not a left or right issue, this is a common sense issue,” he said. “Let’s start cutting back all our perks and stop blaming every one else.”

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  1. wcsl.04 says:

    NOTE:

    THESE ARE NOT THE OPINIONS OF THIS WEBSITE, NOR ARE THESE CLAIMS SUBSTANTIATED OR IN ANY WAY SUPPORTED BY OMARMOSLEH.COM.

    Request for Peter Milczyn to resign:

    Jeremy Kramer of Kramer Design Associates is working a corrupted deal with Rami Tabello and Peter Milczyn to line his own pockets with illegal money.

    Peter Milczyn got his wife, Rose Burrows, hired as city staff through cronyism. She now secretly passes city documents to Peter Milczyn for his political gain.

    Peter Milczyn considers being a city council member the same as being in business for himself. He should resign now.

    Jeff Lyons, the disgraced lobbyist from Toronto, was Peter Milczyn’s mentor and a leading campaign contributor to Milczyn in 2000.

    Rami Tabello of IllegalSigns.ca is being paid to write his Toronto illegal signs website by Peter Milczyn, Ward Five Etobicoke-York of the Toronto City Council.

    The Astral Media procurement contract with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for $420 million in 2007 was illegal, and Peter Milczyn is directly responsible for the illegal nature of that contract.

    Peter Milczyn needs to resign his post as city council member for the City of Toronto, Ward 5 Etobicoke-York.

    -wcsl.04

  2. Toronto Council was a good council but now this is hapening because of the 4% tax rise.

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