TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is slamming the Ontario budget, saying the governing Liberals aren’t serious about slaying their $12.5-billion deficit.
But Finance Minister Charles Sousa says Toronto is getting billions of dollars from the province and Ford is asking for more money.
The budget included a promise to spend $130 billion on infrastructure over a decade, including $29 billion for public transit and transportation projects.
Sousa says Ford is getting more money from the province than the federal government, which should be committing more funds for infrastructure projects.
In his statement, Ford says he’s pleased there’s more money for infrastructure in the budget, but he’s “highly concerned” that the Liberals don’t seem to have a plan to reduce spending and find efficiencies.
He says there’s no proof that the province is actually committed to eliminating its $12.5-billion deficit because the budget actually increases the shortfall.
Ontario’s debt stands at a “staggering $289 billion,” Ford said in a statement.
“That is over $22,000 of debt per Ontario resident,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the 2014 provincial budget does nothing to reduce this burden. Instead, the province plans on adding an additional $20 billion to its already crippling debt load.”
Toronto’s credit rating and outlook remains strong, while debt rating agencies are putting Ontario on watch about a possible downgrade, said Ford, who is campaigning for re-election in October.
“At the City of Toronto, I have shown that we can drive efficiencies and reduce the burden on taxpayers, while still investing billions of dollars in important infrastructure needs.”
Ford returned to city hall two weeks ago after spending two months in rehab to cope with substance abuse problems.