Dear Mayor Tory:
I just spoke to an assistant in the Mayor’s office. I was asking that the TTC budget not be cut by the Mayor’s proposed 2.6% but that it be increased to encourage all of us to get out of our cars which is the only way to decrease the road gridlock in Toronto.
The major concern which I expressed to the staff person is that this cut will harm the most vulnerable of our citizens with increased fares, elimination of all fare discounts and elimination of some routes. I also said that these cuts represent Toronto going backwards when we consider the pollution cars produce and that we all breathe as well as the car’s contribution to CO2 emissions that are causing climate change (how about this heat – with 2016 set to be the warmest year on record, with each year hotter than the last).
I also mentjoned the article in yesterday’s paper, “Blame it on the billionaires” which describes Toronto as the city in North America with the fourth largest gap between the haves and have-nots. We need the mayor to have an adult conversation with the citizens of Toronto and say as many of us are saying – that we are not over taxed and that we can afford to have a better balanced city in terms of inequality. In fact the studies done indicate that everyone, including the rich, are better off with increased equality. So there is no real need to be cutting programs for the public when most of us have the ability to pay more using revenue tools which are being considered but apparently not implemented. I said that I am a renter; therefore I pay proportionally more in property taxes than home owners, many of whom are now millionaires in terms of their property values.
I am sharing the graphic below, sent to me by Commitment to Community – C2C, a citizens group I have worked with, during the Poverty Reduction Strategy of last spring – that the Mayor held as a priority in City Council. Too bad that Council was unwilling to vote the budget necessary to implement very much of the Initiative.
The graphic shows that in real dollars, property owners and car owners are actually paying less while lower-income families are paying more – including the cost of public transit. This is unjust!
Please do not cut the TTC budget; but in fact increase the subsidy to the TTC and demand that the upper levels of government restore the operating funding to transit that they once paid.
Murray Lumley, East York, M4C 1J4