The budget chief, Councillor Mike Del Grande, is a staunch fiscal conservative and one of Ford’s most loyal allies. His comments on Councillor Josh Matlow’s Newstalk 1010 radio show underscored the difficulty Ford will have convincing a majority of council to vote to repeal a tax that will generate about $300 million this year.
Ford’s promise to repeal the tax within a year was a central plank in his campaign platform. On Thursday, he vowed to repeal it in phases, beginning with a cut of perhaps 25 per cent next year.
Matlow asked Del Grande if it was a good idea to repeal the tax without a plan to replace the revenue it provides. Del Grande demurred, saying the city’s budget picture was not yet entirely clear because of ongoing efficiency studies and labour negotiations.
He later said: “Going forward, $300 million is a lot of money.” He added, “I think, again, everybody, collectively, has a right to ask that question. That being said, I think the mayor is very keen on fulfilling all his campaign promises.”
Matlow replied, “But even if they don’t make sense?”