The trusty Star reports today that Toronto has sunk deeper into debt under Ford:
Over the past two years, the city borrowed $1.5 billion to pay for capital costs — including transit equipment ordered by Ford’s predecessor — and repaid $700 million, thus increasing the debt burden by $800 million.
This doesn’t come as a shock, but it’s important to point out that the brunt of the burden comes from a couple of administrations ago, so it’s entirely fair to say that Ford inherited the problem.
But then he made it worse:
Ford has championed cutting the cost of government, scrapping the $60 vehicle tax shortly after taking office, and holding down increases in property taxes which are traditionally put toward capital costs, along with borrowed funds.
In 2011, on Ford’s insistence, the city froze property taxes. The next year he limited the increase to 2.5 per cent, in line with inflation.
About half of the borrowing was to pay for transit infrastructure, such as replacing worn-out vehicles. Other big-ticket infrastructure spending went to areas such as roads, parks and housing.