It was one of his key campaign promises, and Mayor Rob Ford moved one step closer to keeping it on Thursday, after the city’s Executive Committee unanimously voted in favour of scrapping the Vehicle Registration Tax.
“This is the best thing that has come out of City Hall for 13 years,” said Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti.
Eliminating the $60/year tax will cost council $64 million a year in lost revenues. The Executive Committee voted to kill it even though they weren’t provided details on how that money will be made up.
Some councillors not on the committee expressed their concerns about the process.
“I understand the political desire to get this done today, lickedy-split, first day on the job. It’s basically making very big decisions on the back of a paper napkin in a coffee shop,” said Coun. Anthony Peruzza.
The committee also voted to shave councillor expense accounts from $50,000/year, down to $30,000.
And mayor Ford asked staff to bring in a draft budget with no major service cuts.
The addition of the word ‘major’ has critics wondering if the election promise of ‘no cuts’ still stands.
“It’s not that there are no service cuts, which is what’s been reported in the media,” said Coun. Adam Vaughan. “It’s that the mayor will decide what is major and minor and that will be the decision…you can close 10 libraries but if the mayor decides it’s 10 minor libraries, it’s 10 minor library cuts and that doesn’t mean he’s broken a promise.”
The moves to scrap the Vehicle Registration Tax, and decrease spending accounts, aren’t a sure thing just yet. Council still has final say.