Saturday, August 11, 2007

How long until the bailout?

It's because politicians can get away with defending policy with such meaningless and immaterial ersatz sentimentality as this…

"In a diverse city, with a significant population of newcomers, our libraries and community centres are where people become Torontonians."
… that they get away with running their jurisdictions in such inept and ineffectual fashions.

That's a quote from Toronto mayor David Miller as he proceeded to announce cuts to services in libraries and community centres in the face of a projected $575 million operating budget shortfall for next year. An inexcusable figure, but one for which he has shown himself willing to discomfort ordinary Torontonians, more than his labour and progressive constituents, in a bid to make them feel the counterfeit sense of tragedy he is trying to manufacture. A sentiment that he hopes will grow into political support for his attempts to extort ever greater funding from non-Torontonians. The labour and progressive constituency in Toronto will have somewhat less to fear from his cuts, since they are already on-board with the strategy of vicarious taxation, but it won't hurt to cajole them either.


Anonymous said...

I agree that David Miller is pissing and moaning in the hopes it will attract enough attention to gather some resources from other levels of government. However, I'm not convinced it is fair to chastise him for asking for a larger share of Toronto's current tax revenue. As a resident of London I enjoy the benefits of provincial revenue generated in Toronto and spent here and would find it disappointing if Toronto got its way in terms of direct funding. Especially considering that would require creativity on behalf of London's management to solve the inevitable budgetary shortfall.

jomama said...

A sentiment that he hopes will grow into political support for his attempts to extort ever greater funding from non-Torontonians.

How do you extort more from a turnip?

At some point, we're all turnips.

Fenris Badwulf said...

I note that the debate ignores the actual spending programs. It is assumed by those that think for us that all of the programs are all well run. The main stream media is silent on where the money is actually spent. Of course, citizens have learnt that to ask pointed questions gets you called names, so they are silent.

The only people supporting these tax increases are tax spenders. The rest are silent, waiting for the inevitable collapse of the Bolshevik arts economy.

MapMaster said...

Cross-jurisdictional tax collection and spending obscures the relationship between taxpayer and government and almost inevitably benefits only the governments instead of the taxpayers.

Contrary to the wisdom being passed off these days, cities are entirely responsible for their budget problems. Offloading by the province obviously created some additional burdens, but it's used as an excuse for fiscal irresponsibility. How cities handle the offloaded responsibilities is mostly discretionary, something that you'll rarely hear. Toronto is just an extreme example of cities using offloaded responsibilities (for what, in principle, should be municipal responsibilities given that their apparent benefits are localized in nature and service) to pad their progressive credentials and to placate municipal labour unions. Amalgamation in Toronto was a dreadful mistake by Mike Harris, but again Toronto politicians abused the opportunities there.