[URBAN NOTE] “Mayor John Tory budget cuts unfairly target vulnerable: city expert panel”
The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro reports on findings that Toronto’s budget cuts will hurt the vulnerable disproportionately.
A group of academics and representatives from community agencies assembled by the city say Mayor John Tory’s request for across-the-board budget cuts unfairly impacts the city’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable residents.
At the request of council, staff reported back on the social and economic impacts of Tory’s request that all city divisions and agencies find 2.6 per cent in reductions — what has been part of his carefully-crafted narrative about first saving money before announcing plans to raise needed revenues, including tolling the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.
But that exercise, the expert group says, was flawed from the start.
“One of the primary conclusions of the reviewers was that an across the board 2.6 per cent reduction to all city programs and agencies, by design, disproportionately and negatively impacts low-income, vulnerable and marginalized residents — because these residents are at a disadvantage to begin with,” reads a briefing note prepared as part of the 2017 budget process and published Monday.
Tory has argued that all departments needed to participate in the search for “efficiencies” — that the public expects governments to find a way to “do the same for less.”