To start, let me say that I really don’t have any issues with the Toronto Police Service (TPS) or with Chief Bill Blair. That’s not to say that I don’t think that TPS is the most efficiently run city service or that Blair has been perfect since taking over as Chief, but I think he’s done a better job of running TPS than did superstar Julian Fantino and he certainly took it on the chin for Fantino during the debacle that was the running of the G8/G20 situation in 2010.
So, when I say that the budget situation, as described by the article linked from the title of this post, is an exercise in thoughtspeak and basically bullshit, I do so with only the greatest of affection. Let’s lay out the numbers, shall we?
- TPS budget, 2011: $930 million
- TPS “starting” budget, 2012: $953 million
- Increase from 2011 to desired budget for 2012: 2.5%
- Mayor Ford’s demanded budget reduction from 2011 amount: -10%
- TPS budget with 10% reduction from 2011 amount: $837 million
- Number of 4th-class constables that would need to be laid off to achieve this figure, at $56,731/year: 1,640
- Proposed budget presented by Blair three weeks ago: $944 million
- Proposed budget presented by Blair yesterday: $935 million
- Percentage by which this budget fails to achieve Ford’s demand: 11.7%
- Dollar amount by which this budget fails to achieve Ford’s demand: $98 million
This is all just basic math, but it underscores the fact that there are different rules at City Hall for different players. The TTC was required to cut $70 million from its budget, a 10% reduction from the 2011 dollar amount. This, while Blair was allow to count his reduction from his pie-in-the-sky “starting” budget for 2012.
Frankly, I think the whole process has become political theatre. While we sit and argue who has to cut what from where, we fail to ask more relevant questions such as:
- Why is the city not exploring other revenue options to offset the burden on property taxes?
- Did anyone really need for the vehicle registration tax to be repealed?
- And, most importantly, what on earth did the $80-$100 million surplus left by the Miller regime get spent?
There’s no doubt that the budgeting process is painful and necessary, but we’re definitely not asking the right questions when it comes to how the current city administration is running things.