ELECTION: What we didn’t talk about
OCTOBER 22, 2018
| BY JOHN LORINC
Well, beware of what you wish for. The Ford government will soon release its fall economic statement
, which is a kind of mini-budget, and there’s every indication that the Tories plan to slash provincial spending. Setting aside the predictable hyperbole about allegations of misspending by the Wynne government, municipal governments may well experience these looming cuts like body blows.
Fully 17% of the 2018 operating budget
, or $2.2 billion, came from provincial grants or subsidies, much of that for cost-shared social service programs delivered by the city. As for the capital budget, $4.1 billion, or roughly a tenth of the 2018-2027 spending plan, comes from provincial grants or the provincial gas tax.
In other words, the city has huge fiscal exposure, vindicating earlier warnings from Peter Wallace, the former city manager who came to be cast in the role of the Ancient Mariner in our municipal melodrama. If Ford slashes mandated social service benefits and programs, it will create a domino effect on the city in terms of growing homelessness and other forms of social dislocation. As for those capital budget subsidies, watch out because those outlays are all about city building. Cuts there will force the next council to either ice some of the big projects, find new revenues or plead for additional funding from the federal government. [...]