The budget surplus
The city’s chief financial officer has found a higher-than-expected budget surplus from the previous fiscal year. The new surplus figure, $154 million, exceeds previous estimates by $15 million. The expanded surplus has prompted some councillors to call for surplus funds to alleviate some of the more unpopular cuts included in the budget.
Much of the surplus comes from the land transfer tax, a source of revenue that Mayor Rob Ford has pledged to eliminate. City councillors fearful of backing unpopular cuts to city services have asked that the money be used to maintain services that had previously been on the chopping block, such as children’s nutrition programs, child care, and public transit.
Since the announcement of the increased surplus, however, conflicting reports about use of the money have surfaced. The CBC and National Post reported that the executive will pour all the money back into the TTC’s capital projects fund, used to help pay for streetcars ordered by the previous administration. The order still requires $700 million in payment.
The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, on the other hand, have claimed that various funding uses are still under consideration.