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Toronto needs to pay for the needs of a major metropolis

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Two perspectives on Toronto in the early, chilly weeks of 2019:

In much of the city, shining new towers rise as we remake the urban landscape. Tens of thousands of newcomers arrive every year. More tech jobs are being created than anywhere else in North America — including Silicon Valley. House prices remain at nosebleed levels.

Meanwhile at City Hall, the usual suspects line up to plead for more help. There’s not enough in the annual city budget for child care, recreation spaces, transit or young people, they say. We’re being left behind.

How is it that such a rich city, growing richer by the year, can’t afford to properly support those struggling to keep up?

The answer, of course, is that it can — but chooses not to. Year after year, through the politicians we select to lead us, we choose not to pay for the kind of services worthy of the major metropolis we’ve become, somewhat despite ourselves.

This year is no exception. The proposed $13.5-billion budget that city council will vote on March 7 will continue the trend of keeping both taxes and spending low — lower than they ought to be if we want to live up to our professed principles as a truly inclusive city that’s confident about its future in the front ranks of major urban centres.

And spending is low. A few shrill voices on the right squawk........

© Toronto Star