Ford’s Cuts at Provincial Level Will Likely Come Back To Haunt Taxpayers at Municipal Level

“Since Doug Ford tabled his budget (early this past April), municipalities throughout Ontario have been hit with cut after cut. Now, cities are forced to choose between making deep cuts to municipal services or increasing taxes on families… One way or another, people throughout the province are paying big for Ford’s cuts.” – Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

A Brief Foreword by Doug Draper

Posted May 17th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

How real is Premier Doug Ford’s repeated claim to Ontario residents that he is “putting money back in our pockets.”

Since Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his self-described “Government for the People” tabled their first major provincial budget early this past April, their self-serving propaganda service called Ontario News has been issuing one news release after another talking about how the government has made cuts to services to put money back in the pockets of those of us who live across the province.

But how much, if any, money that Ford and company cut from budgets at the provincial level is really going to go into our pockets?

What if the services being cut at the provincial level are simply being downloaded to towns and cities at the municipal level, then passed on to home and business owners through property taxes? That is, of course, unless municipal councillors want to be the bad guys and cut the services altogether.

Just this week at the Niagara Region level, regional councillors were told by senior staff in the Region’s public health department that at least some of the health care cuts Ford and other members of his government have been making at the provincial level mean that municipal governments will either have to pick up the slack to save the services or cut them.

And if municipal governments find themselves being forced to pick up the slack because the services in question are deemed as critical or essential for members of the public, that leaves municipalities having to cover the costs for those services and pass them on to residents through increases to property taxes.

Over the weeks since Ford tabled his government, municipalities in Niagara and other parts of the province are finding themselves faced with this situation, not only with public health services, but with flood management, transit and a host of other programs and services.

So where does the putting money back in our pockets part come in?

More often than not, what we seem to be getting here is a Ford government that is pretending to come off like a cost cutting and tax cutting super hero while, in reality, the costs will end up being made up through property taxes which hit people on low and fixed incomes the hardest.

That’s right. Many of the people who will be hit the hardest by all of this downloading of services and costs will be people on the property tax rolls who are least able to pay. 

And Doug Ford, as a former Toronto city councillor, has got to know that.

Let’s not allow the Ford government to fool us over what kind of shell game they are playing here.

Now here is a news release on this issue, circulated by the NDP and Official Opposition Party of Andrea Horwath this  May 16 –

Municipalities face possibility of a Ford Tax

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK – A Ford tax could be coming to people’s property tax bills. NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said that families will be left on the hook for Doug Ford’s deep cuts to municipalities, with cities like Toronto and Peel facing multi-million dollar budget shortfalls.

In London, City Council is considering a 2.7 per cent property tax hike as a result of Ford’s cuts. Hamilton said another 1 per cent property tax hike could be needed to offset Ford’s cuts. And the City of Toronto is facing a budget shortfall of $178 million and contemplating issuing a second set of tax notices to make up the difference.

“Since Doug Ford tabled his budget, municipalities throughout Ontario have been hit with cut after cut,” said Horwath. “Now, cities are forced to choose between making deep cuts to municipal services or increasing taxes on families.

“One way or another, people throughout the province are paying big for Ford’s cuts.”

The Ford Conservatives have slashed Public Health budgets and eliminated 25 Public Health Units throughout Ontario. Cuts to municipal child care programs have put thousands of subsidized child care spaces at risk. Ford cancelled a planned increase to the municipal transit transfer, which is a share of the existing gas tax.

In question period on Wednesday (May 15th), Horwath committed to continuing to partner with municipalities and families to push back against Ford’s cuts

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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