Budget 2017 - We Need Your Help
As we continue to celebrate the holiday season, critical conversations are underway at City Hall about the future of our city, with the launch of our Long-Term Fiscal Plan process, and the release of the proposed 2017 Budget.
For the last two decades our city's population has steadily grown. Meanwhile, our revenue has steadily declined. Simply put, as our city has grown, our budget to support Toronto residents has not.
Currently, we do not have the revenue to support the city we have – our transit system, our parks and community spaces, or our affordable housing units.
We are also not able to build the city we need – a city where residents have access to safe and affordable housing, quality child care that is affordable, transit that is accessible, and parks and community spaces that build liveable communities.
The first phase of the development of our City's Long-Term Financial Plan is underway. This phase is asking for the public's input on challenging questions on how we build a fair, liveable and equitable city. At City Council in December, we also decided to move forward with implementing revenue tools, to address the immediate challenges we face to support our city services. I support reviewing a broad range of options, including road tolls, property tax, and other measures, to ensure that we are raising revenue in a progressive and equitable way.
We have also just begun the 2017 Budget process at City Hall.
At its core, the annual Budget debate is about people. Decisions made during the budget process immediately affect how we live in our city; how we interact with our parks and greenspaces; how we get around – whether on foot, bike, transit or car, and how we support each other.
In this budget, we need your help to ask critical questions – are we building a fair and supportive city?
Are we making our city, the lives of all our friends and neighbours, better?
Unfortunately, the 2017 proposed budget does not allow us to maintain the city and services we have, let alone the resources we need to invest and build a fair and equitable city.
This year's operating budget does not include the resources needed to support the TTC; instead, TTC fares continue to rise – and, the proposed budget does not make the service better. Riders will be paying more, and waiting longer for the bus, longer for the streetcar and longer for the subway.
This year's operating budget does not include the resources to add 75 desperately needed spaces to our city's child care system. Instead, families across our city are waiting longer for spaces they can't afford – the system is not getting better.
Access to safe and affordable housing is a demonstration of the true health of a community. This budget does not do anything to address the over $2 billion backlog in repairs at TCHC - repairs to the homes of thousands of our neighbours. In fact, this budget takes money out of TCHC, rather than investing it in the repairs that are so drastically needed across our city. This situation is not getting better – and is getting worse at an alarming rate.
These are just a few of the ways that the 2017 operating budget is, in fact, not making things in our great city better. Programs to support the fight against climate change, maintenance of our parks and open spaces, support for our shelters and community centres, and countless other services and priorities – are not a part of the proposed operating budget.
We also have billions of dollars – almost $30 billion – in unfunded infrastructure projects. Smart-track, broader transit expansion, expanding our cycling infrastructure, making our streets safer, not to mention the need to build affordable housing, address urgently needed repairs in TCHC communities, and build the services that our growing communities rely on.
Far too many of us – our friends and neighbours – are being left out, and left behind. The proposed 2017 budget further demonstrates this.
There are many ways to get involved to help us change this budget, and ensure that it supports all our communities. Take a look at the information below to find out how you can get involved. The budget process can be inaccessible and complex, but getting involved with the City's budget is crucial. You can also click here to review the proposed department-by-department 2017 budget.
Toronto is a great city, there's no question about that. But, in order to build a city for the future, we need to invest – in people, services, and infrastructure – to truly make things better. In this budget cycle, help us do just that.
I look forward to talking to you throughout this process and ensuring that the budget reflects the needs of our communities. Please contact my office at any time if you have any questions.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season,
Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina
Get Involved in the 2017 Budget
1 – Come to my Ward 20 Budget Town Hall on Thursday, January 12, 7pm, at Scadding Court Community Centre. Again this year, we are holding a joint town hall with Councillor Layton and our neighbours in Ward 19. Hear more information about what this budget means for our neighbourhoods, how we can make our city better for all our friends and neighbours, and share your thoughts with me before Council votes on the Budget in February.
Councillors Joe Cressy & Mike Layton's City Budget Town Hall
Thursday January 12th, 7pm
Scadding Court Community Centre
707 Dundas St. W. (Bathurst and Dundas)
Enter through the main doors
2 – Complete my Ward 20 Budget Questionnaire to tell me what your priorities are in this year's budget – click here to complete the questionnaire.
3 – Speak at Budget Committee to share your views – there will be public deputation sessions held at:
Etobicoke Civic Centre, Council Chamber (399 The West Mall)
January 5, 3 and 6pm
Scarborough Civic Centre, Council Chamber (150 Borough Dr.)
January 5, 3 and 6pm
North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge St.)
January 9, 3 and 6pm
East York Civic Centre (850 Coxwell Ave.)
January 9, 3 and 6pm
York Civic Centre (2700 Eglinton Ave. W)
January 10, 3 and 6pm
City Hall, Committee Room 1 (100 Queen Street West)
January 10, 9:30am and 6pm
As I said, it is critical this year that we come together to demonstrate our support for building our City. Speaking to Budget Committee is a crucial way to do that. To register to speak, call 416-392-4666 or email email@example.com. You can only make one presentation at any of the sessions.
Can't attend in person? Send a written submission to the Budget Committee by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 416-392-1879, or mail to Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street W, 10th floor, West Tower, Toronto ON, M5H 2N2. You can also contact the Mayor's office to let Mayor Tory know what is critical for you and our communities in this budget, by emailing email@example.com.
To find out more, visit toronto.ca/council.
You can also follow the budget process at toronto.ca/budget2017.