City Budget Watch
On February 17, Toronto City Council passed the 2022 City budget, making only minor changes to the original staff-recommended budget launched one month ago. Despite thousands of residents calling for a better bolder budget that would respond to the multiple and mounting crises impacting communities, Toronto City Council opted for a status quo budget that failed to meet the moment.
2022 City Budget: Budget and Executive Committees Make No Changes to Draft Budget - No New Funding, No Reallocation of Police Budget
The Budget Committee and Executive Committee have concluded their work on the 2022 City of Toronto budget, making no changes to the staff-recommended budget launched nearly one month ago. No new funding was added to introduce or expand programs and services, beyond what was already included in the staff-recommended budget. One attempt to reallocate a small amount from the increase to the police budget to programs to support tenant housing conditions was defeated at Budget Committee.
2022 City Budget: Strong Calls to Cut the Police Budget, Support Climate Action, and Fund Critical Services at Budget Deputations
The 2022 City budget process has advanced to its final stages with the Budget Committee concluding its work on February 7, the Executive Committee set to review the budget today, Friday, February 11, and Toronto City Council to meet for final budget votes on Thursday, February 17. At public hearings, residents and community groups spoke with frustration and anger about plans to increase the police budget while urgent action is needed to address mounting and multiple crises in affordable housing, emergency shelter and supports, overdose prevention, public transit, climate action, child care, long-term care, seniors services and more - none of which require the police.
Did you miss SPT's 2022 City Budget Town Hall? No problem! The video with closed captioning is available right here.
On January 18, SPT hosted its annual City budget town hall. The town hall featured a wonderful panel of speakers. We had a great conversation with participants and shared ideas to take action for a better, bolder budget for Toronto residents. Presenters dug deep into this year's budget, with a focus on shelters, housing and homelessness, public transit, climate justice, jobs and work, growth funding tools, and budget impacts through an intersectional gender equity lens.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated deep and long-standing social, racial and geographic inequalities in our city. Our communities are struggling, evidenced by multiple and mounting crises in the areas of housing and homelessness, food security, mental health and addictions, child care, transit, and more. Now more than ever, we need bold leadership and action from Toronto City Council that recognizes the urgency of this moment.
More than a decade of austerity budgets have left the City of Toronto ill-equipped to respond to this moment. Sad to say, this year's draft budget does little to turn the corner on this unfortunate history. On January 13, amidst the raging Omicron wave, the City of Toronto launched its 2022 staff-recommended tax-supported budget, the fourth and final budget of this term of Council. In an uncommon time, with communities struggling through a fifth, hard-hitting wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is proposing a status quo budget that prioritizes low property taxes, proposes no new revenue tools to finance new services, includes close to half a billion in City-funded 'offsets' (i.e. savings/cost cutting), and little new funding to address the many urgent needs of Toronto residents.