Friday, 2 December 2011

"Toronto Budget Cuts" kinda rhymes with WTF

I'm no politician or mathmetician or financial expert, but it strikes me as ill-advised that the city of Toronto is considering massive cuts to services that help marginalized community members. TTC fare hikes with service decreases (just when ridership is at an all-time high? Seriously? Just... seriously?), cutting breakfast programs for kids from low-income households, cutting shelters that house the homeless, cutting arts and recreation programs that get and keep kids engaged and out of trouble...

What do they think will happen in the absense of these services? With fewer shelter spots, people won't just decide not to be homeless. They'll be filling up jailcells instead or getting harassed by police with tickets for trying to sleep in the wrong spot. With cuts to daycare spots, do they imagine the kids in daycare will just go out and get jobs to stay busy? Do they think the parents will just decide they don't need two incomes and have one parent quit their apparently extraneous job to stay home with them? With TTC fare hikes and service decreases, do they imagine people who have their own vehicles will continue using TTC in record numbers despite their longer and more stressful commutes just because? With the sale of TCHC properties, do they imagine tenants will find a new place to live ahead of the thousands on wait-lists because they just weren't looking hard enough before?

So much of this just flies in the face of reason and really makes Toronto a less livable city. Now, to be sure, there are some areas of the budget proposal I agree with. I think reducing street-clearing is a bummer but a pittance compared to other issues. I think raising property taxes sucks, but beats reduction of services that those taxes pay for. I'm not sure how closing public wading pools contributes to quality of life in the city, so I'm open to information about that. I think eliminating some city jobs (not sure about the numbers, I hear many of the positions are already vacant) could be doable. Booting too many people from the public service all at once would not wind up saving money if they all wound up having to apply for public assistance if they're not able to find replacement careers. Well, maybe it would save the city money because of the pitiful public assistance rates, but the balance would come out of health care and policing costs that are associated with poverty.

Long story short, what is this? I don't even.

Ruff.

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