Ford Stripped of Mayoral Powers, and Property Taxes Go Up

This week saw much more happening in the Rob Ford scandal, mainly the fact that he was stripped of many of his powers that came with being mayor. The biggest power that he’s had taken away from him is the budget, one that he used inarguably to save the people of Toronto money. Now, even though Ford has spoken much in the past about wanting to get the property tax target to 1.75 per cent, that’s just not going to happen. And not surprisingly, when Ford heard the news, he wasn’t happy about it.

Frank Di Giorgia, who’s now the budget chief and has become a conciliator between the mayor and deputy mayor, went into Ford’s office to tell him that taxes would be going up much more than Ford’s desired 1.75 per cent.

He said after speaking to Ford that the response was “not good.”

He also added, “To be brutally honest I think his feeling is the moment he was pushed aside, the gravy train got back in action.”

The ‘gravy train’ remark points to one that Ford used during his 2010 campaign, saying that City Hall was simply a gravy train wanting to take as much from citizens as they could.

Ford didn’t bring up the “gravy train” when he spoke to business people at Casa Loma on Thursday, but he did bring up how much council was planning on raising taxes, and how he sharply disapproves of it.

“They’re already talking, as of an hour ago, that taxes are going to go to 2.5 per cent,” said Ford. “This is not the way I ran government, and I will not be supporting a 2.5 per cent tax increase when I know we can achieve a one and three-quarter per cent tax increase to keep the city as great as it ever has been.”

But despite those words, Mr. Di Giorgio says that the tax increases will be going ahead.

“Unless the budget committee is able to dramatically reduce what’s being proposed by staff – and that I think will be a difficult chore – unless that happens, we’re going to be looking at property taxes in excess of 2 per cent,” Mr. Di Giorgio said.

“It’s just not feasible,” Councillor Ana Bailao agreed, saying that a 1.75 per cent increase is “almost none.”