One of the big issues in the election will be Toronto and its 550 million dollars debt. Mayor David Miller has commented that the province should do something about downloaded social services like welfare benefits, public health, long-term care for the elderly, and social housing. At one time the province used to help out on these programs, but now most of the financial burden is borne by the city.
There's also been a steady decline in tourism from the U.S. because of the high Canadian dollar.
Although I live in Brampton, a city just north and west of Toronto, I sympathize with major Miller's plight. I sent the letter below to Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty on these issues:
"As you know, the new taxes for Toronto have been deferred until after the provincial election. Whether MPPs like it or not, this has become a major issue in this election.
The basic issue is provincial "downloading" and who pays for what. Obviously, a new formula is needed between all governments on this matter, but a patch is needed for Toronto, right now.
I believe that the pain has to be spread around to everyone until the Federal Government includes municipalities in its transfer payments.
The least painful way to raise money is with a new entertainment/casino complex at Woodbine. This will help tourism in Toronto.
In respect to Casino Rama and Niagara casinos, it should run only six months of the year during the summer months.
There are other methods to raise money that Toronto should look at like "a toll on roads for residential cars coming to and parking in Toronto" similar to London England's solution.
Municipal services like pools should be fee based except for the very poor.
An anti-poverty strategy and budget should be adopted by every level of government. This is everybody's concern including charities like the United Way, however, a program must be laid out by the Provincial Government on the fair way to deal with this issue that crosses all jurisdictions.
Until this is handled, property taxes must be raised moderately. Perhaps, up to the 3% level. The other taxes like "Land Transfer Taxes" could be imposed moderately so that it doesn't hurt that much.
Provincial politicians shouldn't run from the financial woes of Toronto or some other municipality.
I look forward to how you and your Government will handle this difficult issue."