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Inside Ford’s budget claims

Rob Ford said he has saved taxpayers $1.5 million since he became a Toronto councillor 10 years ago by eschewing his annual office budget and sparingly using his staff budget.

Claim:?Rob Ford said he has saved taxpayers $1.5 million since he became a Toronto councillor 10 years ago by eschewing his annual office budget and sparingly using his staff budget.

Background: “I’ve saved the taxpayers alone, just without spending my $53,000 tax-free expense account, $1 million,” Ford said during a Sept. 7 mayoral debate on TVO. “I only spent $100,000 out of a $210,000 staff budget.”

“When you do the math, alone, just myself, I’ve saved the taxpayers $1.5 million in 10 years.”

Smell test: By rarely touching his office budget and paying for some things out of his own pocket, he has not spent about $530,000 since elected — only half of what he claimed in the debate to have saved. (It should be noted that many other councillors also spend much less than the $53,500 they’re allotted.)

His purported savings with the staff budget also need clarification. Ford runs a leaner office than many councillors, relying on fewer staff for day-to-day operations. While, on average, he only spends $100,000 to $110,000 a year, the salary budget for most of his term has been much less than this year’s $207,584.

For example, in 2001, Ford spent about $99,000. However, the budget was about $166,000, which means he “saved taxpayers” about $67,000. All said and done, Ford has left about $1.3 million in salary and office expenses untouched.

Verdict: Fresh.

 
 
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