NEWS

Mayor John Tory faces test as Toronto city budget process begins

01/19/2015 06:33 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT
In what is expected to be John Tory's first major test as mayor, Toronto's budget process begins this week with many wondering if Tory will be able to keep his many campaign promises.

"I am determined to address all of the areas I've talked about from the beginning," Tory told CBC News.  He said his priorities "include transit and restoring services, it includes housing and homelessness and some measures to start to alleviate poverty."

Tory has also promised to freeze TTC fares while keeping taxes at or below the rate of inflation, which sits at 1.95 per cent. The city is also starting the year with about a $300-million shortfall.  

Budget deliberations officially begin Tuesday, when staff present their spending plans to the budget committee.

Coun. James Pasternak, a member of the budget committee, doubts Tory will be able to do it all.

"What we are looking at is a tax increase at the rate of inflation and no freezing of TCC fares and no reduction of recreation fees, keeping them as is. Other than that, I don't how Earth you are going to plug that hole."

Coun. Rob Ford doubts Tory can hold tax increases to 1.95 per cent.

"If he can get there, I will be shocked," said Ford. "But good luck to him."

Beyond whatever tax increase is approved, residents will also be hit with an additional one per cent tax dedicated to pay for the Scarborough subway.

MORE:cbcNews