About City Budget Watch
Social Planning Toronto's City Budget Watch is back for the 2020 City of Toronto budget process! We'll be bringing you up-to-date reports and analysis on each step of the City budget process from launch date on Friday, January 10, to final votes at City Council on February 19. We'll let you know how you can learn more, get involved, and have your say on the 2020 budget.
The City Budget Watch Blog is authored by Beth Wilson. Beth is our lead on policy and research at Social Planning Toronto, starting at our organization in 2002. She has a Master of Social Work (MSW), Policy, Organization and Community.
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2021 City Budget: City Council Passes 1st COVID Budget, Some New Policy Directions, But Little New Funding
On February 18, Toronto City Council passed the 2021 City budget. City Council made few changes to the original staff-recommended (draft) budget launched back on January 14. Most significant, the budget shortfall resulting from the pandemic has been reduced to $649 million (plus an additional $15.4 million that is unfunded and required from the provincial government for supportive housing and $61 million that is unfunded and required from the federal government for supports for refugees).
2021 City Budget: SPT & Daily Bread Call for Luxury Homes Tax - Read Our Op-Ed
Housing is a matter of human rights, public health, and racial justice. Every order of government has a responsibility to act. What about Toronto?
2021 City Budget: Budget Committee Review, Briefing Notes, and New Events
The Budget Committee's work on the 2021 City of Toronto budget is almost complete. Following the budget launch on January 14, the committee met to review the budget on January 20-22, receiving presentations from City staff, asking questions of staff, and voting on motions to request briefing notes to inform budget decisions. This week, the committee hosted two days of public hearings/deputations to hear from the public (Jan 25+26) and met for its first of two wrap up meetings. At the January 28th wrap up meeting, the committee received staff reports and briefing notes and had an opportunity to ask questions of staff. Here are the highlights from these recent jam-packed weeks.
Budget Analysis & News
"Toronto After a Decade of Austerity: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
This report looks at how our city has progressed, declined, or stagnated — when it comes to housing, child care, public transit, and cycling and walking — as a result of budget choices made over the past decade. Learn why it's urgent that we move away from austerity toward building a more affordable, fair, & caring city.
Our partners are also analyzing the budget through various lenses. Read some of their work here »
On the budget:
- A date with big city budgets
- Toronto's proposal for balanced budget needs $77 million from federal government
- Toronto's infrastructure costs don’t end once construction is done
On growing support for a tax on vacant homes and higher taxes on luxury homes:
- City puts plan to tax vacant homes on hold, but the idea isn't dead quite yet
- Canada needs a lot more rental housing. A tax on empty condos is part of the solution
- City Councillor favours tax on vacant homes in Toronto
- Growing push to tax both vacant, luxury homes during city's budget process
- Toronto's 2020 budget is just a chapter in a bigger book
- Toronto should put a tax on vacant homes
- Toronto’s 2020 budget would be improved with a tax on vacant homes
- Proposal for more real estate taxes is expected to heat up Toronto’s budget debate
On marginalization and inequity:
- No extra funding for Toronto fund that helps prevent evictions
- Toronto’s economic boom is not being felt in every neighbourhood
On gun violence:
- $6M anti-violence funding boost passes first budget hurdle, prompting both praise and concern
- ‘It’s good to see the city invest in communities again’: Tory’s promise for $6 million to youth programs brings hope of shift on gun violence
- Days after Airbnb killings, Mayor Tory pledges $6 million in new money for youth violence prevention
- Toronto's 2020 budget proposal has little city funding to respond to escalating gun violence
On transit and transportation:
- TTC fare enforcement crackdown doesn’t feel all that fair
- How the Gardiner Expressway hogs the road during budget talks
- Op-ed: The city balances its budget on the backs of students
- Billions to spend on transit renewal but what do we get?
- TTC staff release $4.6B shopping list, including new vehicles, station upgrades
- Toronto’s new streetcars are sleeker and roomier, but you could be waiting up to 25 per cent longer for a ride
- TTC's 10-cent fare hike doesn’t buy much transit
- Will Toronto be getting more new streetcars? The battle begins today with the city's draft budget
- They’re the ‘beating hearts’ of the city’s neighbourhoods. So why are Toronto’s public libraries still chronically underfunded?
Support the Vacant Homes Tax
It didn't make it into the 2020 City Budget, but we need to keep pushing for Council to take this action—one of the many needed to address our housing crisis—in 2021.