So, that's it. With one quick quote from Dalton McGuinty, David Miller's hopeful magical fantasy of a legacy is changed from a Transit Mayor who left Toronto with a minor 3% property tax increase and no TTC fare increase in 2011, into a double-digit tax increase for 4 consecutive years, a TTC fare increase still to be determined, and countless already started and never to be completed Transit projects across the city! Thanks Mayor Miller, you've done it once again!
And let's not forget who helped Mr. Miller turn this dream of his into a nightmare for Torontonians, public enemy number 1 to Toronto, Mr. Dalton McGuinty. A person who does everything he can to snub his nose at Toronto. Whenever Toronto needs anything from the Province, McGuinty says he's too busy to listen, and he has more important things to do, like politic his way out of non-stop scandals... From the OLG, to e-Health, to the LCBO, and most recently with his repeat-offence of hiding portions of his Senior Government Officials' salaries in Ontario Hospital Budgets -yet another broken promise to bury in the Dalton McGuinty Cemetery of Broken Promises...
Well, when Mayor Miller made his glorious announcement about his discovery of that $104 Million under his desk in City Hall, he made some pretty bold statements about his legacy, and how he's leaving the city in a far better state than when he became Mayor. And we all laughed in complete frustration at his seemingly moronic hopes and dreams about how this found money was going to save the city.
To quote him from his announcement (see story: The Joke's on us Torontonians, eh Mayor Miller?), whose video can be found at CP24:
Miller's announcement: Toronto has larger than expected surplus (the video is on the top-right)
...We face structural financial challenges. Such as the need for a return to shared funding for the operation of the TTC that need to be addressed for the city's long-term financial stability. And I'm pleased at the Premier's agreement to begin those discussions, one's that we at the city would like to resolve by December of this year.
...By placing the remainder in a tax-stabilization reserve that will allow for a balanced 2011 operating budget, with no TTC fare increase, assuming of course, a 3% tax increase that year and the successful conclusion of the agreed upon negotiations with the province regarding it's long awaited re-assumption of the sharing of TTC operating costs. These results will be achieved by placing about 75% of the additional surplus in this reserve, with the remainder used in 2010.
You see, Mayor Miller's entire plan was to get funding from McGuinty to cover half of the TTC's operating budget, and that had to happen by December in order for his plan to succeed. And we all questioned (myself particularly in the story linked above) how he would even expect McGuinty to make an agreement by December, especially when he had just said he didn't have the time to discuss it. Yet, Miller pushed on in his fantasy world, pretending that it was still going to happen... This is who we have voted to run this city!!!
Well, today McGuinty was quoted this time saying that even if they do come to an agreement in regards to funding for the TTC, there's no way that it will all be provided this year... In fact, he would be thinking more along the lines of a long-term transition plan... Definitely not in time for Miller to pull off another magic trick with the lives of Torontonians...
Here's the story from the Toronto Sun:
Province hits brakes on TTC funding
Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday his government will not be able to reach a firm commitment this year to take over half the operating costs of the TTC.
Even if the province were to take on that responsibility, it likely would be phased in over time, the premier said.
”Were we able to come to some understanding, it would necessarily entail us taking on more over an extended period of time because we just don’t have the capacity to do it all at once,” McGuinty said.
Toronto city staff painted a worst-case scenario for taxpayers last week of double-digit residential property tax hikes for several years running without asset sales or significant new funding from other levels of government.
And Miller finally accepted that his dream of Provincial Transit Funding by December was over and quickly pulled the default political switcheroo and said the following:
“It’s the same thing he said in February and it’s the same thing he has said privately. They’re nervous about a Dec. 1 deadline,” Miller said.
“I think it’s important to reach an agreement this year — I haven’t said it has to be about funding this year, it’s about reaching an agreement.”
Sadly for Mayor Miller, his dreams of Transit Expansion for Toronto -allowing for the savior of his disgraced and disastrous run as Mayor- are all being awoken back to reality, and unfortunately any remaining transit projects that are ongoing will have to be scaled back as a result..
Councillor Peter Milczyn, a member of council’s right-leaning Responsible Government Group, said it may be time to revise the city’s ambitious transit plans.
“Transit funding has been the highest growing part of the city budget and that has to be curtailed,” Milczyn said.
“Potentially, some of the expansion may have to be peeled back a little bit.”
Your days as Mayor are quickly depleting Mayor Miller. I think it's about time for another announcement, don't you? But this time, make it the right announcement. You know, the one we all expected you to give last time. (Let's see, it starts with an "R" and ends with an "esignation"...)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rokashi/4430312840/sizes/l/ by Rokashi on flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/npetten/3610810337/sizes/o/ by NPetten on flickr