The man who claimed to save a city billions

As the Toronto Mayoral election comes up, it is important to understand the facts and claims that candidates have made during the 2014 election campaign.Rob Ford vehicle registration tax

Canada’s latest international celebrity and butt of all jokes, Rob Ford has launched his election campaign with the main argument for his re-election as:

 “I might be a mess in my private life, but look how much money I’ve shoveled into your pocket. I saved you a billion dollars, folks. That must make me the greatest mayor in the history of the city, if not the world. Guaranteed”.

However, a recent article published by Royson James for the Toronto Star stated that “Budget confusion lets Ford get away with ‘$1B savings’ claim” – a point lost on people who take the mayor’s oft-repeated untruth at face value.

I have gotten into a few arguments with peers regarding Mr. Ford and all of the super great things that he has done and contributed to the city, but I do agree that the one good thing that he has done was save the city millions of dollars. Upon election 4 years ago, Ford promised to cut $2 billion in spending without cutting a single service. It is true that Ford has eliminated the city’s dependence of $350 million in all kinds of surplus and reserve funds but that figure is no way near the billion dollar tax savings mark.

Toronto’s city manager, Joe Pennachetti,  stated that there is a difference between budget savings and tax savings. In response to Ford’s tax saving arugments, Pennachetti argued:

“You can’t say, ‘I saved taxpayers a billion dollars’… That’s not a correct statement. Council reduced expenditure levels with a combination of cuts and revenues increase to minimize the tax increases… every mayor has done that”.

As the election campaign continues to unfold, the city manager and city’s chief financial officer have been caught up with just how much money Ford has saved for taxpayers during his time in office. Josh and his colleague, Daniel Dale, broke down and deconstructed Ford’s tax saving claims and accomplishments as stated in the article:

  • Fuel prices ended up lower than projected, so Ford claims the $23 million saved as part of mopping up the gravy. Interest rates dropped, saving another $36 million, and Ford portrays this as a tax saving.
  • User fees jumped $30 million under Ford; the mayor claims this as a tax saving because if he didn’t increase the fees — like transit fares — then taxes would go up on everyone. At the same time he stopped another user fee, the vehicle registration tax, but claimed that as a tax saving — even though it meant all taxpayers had to fill the revenue gap created.
  • The provincial government exempted the TTC from $54 million in “fringe benefits liabilities.” Ford takes credit for saving taxpayers $54 million

Through understanding these claims, it is evident to see that Ford has seriously stretched his claims. Ford had no power over fuel prices and interest rates. There needs to be another reason why people should re-elect Ford back into office. Over the past 4 years, what else has he done other than made a joke of Toronto?

I urge GTA voters to do some research and look through news articles, and mayoral candidates’ platform. Support a candidate whom you believe will benefit the city and the future generations. Not someone who is funny and “bad ass”. Toronto is a highly internationally recognized city that deserves the opportunity to have a mayor to lead them to future success.