No plan to bail out city’s cash woes, premier says

Toronto councillors need to make “difficult decisions” like increasing taxes because there are no imminent plans to bail out the city, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned yesterday — a comment that prompted the first signals of shifting ground at city hall.


Calling the premier a “coward” and a “man of inaction,” Councillor Maria Augimeri (Ward 9, York Centre) said last night she has changed her mind since last week’s vote to defer a decision on new taxes until after the Oct. 11 provincial election.


The left-leaning council veteran, who voted for the deferral in hopes the province would take back some of the city’s costs for social services, now wants the issue of implementing land-transfer and vehicle-registration taxes reopened when council reconvenes in September.


“I thought the provincial parties would come out in strong support of Toronto. Call me naïve,” Augimeri said. She said she’s lost faith the province will help, given McGuinty’s comments and those last week by Conservative Leader John Tory, who said he’d wait for a pending report on municipal downloading before committing himself.