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The following breakdown of a property


tax bill is based on a homeowner who is pay- ing $3,020 a year:


LINE ITEM Police Service & Board


Toronto Transit Commission Debt Charges Fire Services


Parks, Forestry & Recreation


Toronto Community Housing Corporation


Transportation Services Shelter, Support & Housing Toronto Public Library


Toronto Employment & Social Services


Children’s Services Toronto Paramedic Services


COST 703.31 521.29 390.47 325.12 222.05


166.35 154.04 149.94 128.23


62.19 59.28 58.59


Economic Development & Culture 48.45 Other


30.70 Each line item in the city budget is the re-


sult of priority setting and decision making. As you can see, one cost sticks out above all others, and it’s not library services. Given the widespread and well past-due attention to anti-Black racism, we can turn to a recent motion from two city councillors to defund the police by reducing their budget by ten percent (or about $122 million, which stu- dents could use to calculate the total annual police budget). The idea was to divert those dollars to funding other services that would support our communities in ways that don’t require firearms and use of lethal force. Imag- ine $122 million dollars a year to provide high quality youth programming, subsidized housing or better employment services! But why ten percent? Why not 50 percent,


as Black Lives Matter Toronto has suggested? Or as abolitionists have argued, a complete revamping of police services? Students work- ing together to design their own city budget can engage in rich conversations, thinking outside the box about how financial decisions impact the health of their communities.


F1.4 Identify various societal and personal factors that may influence financial decision making.


In 2012, fast food workers in New York had finally had enough. Two hundred of them walked off the job, sparking a six-continent, 300-city fight for a $15 minimum wage. My students are likely to enter the workforce


26 ETFO VOICE | WINTER 2020


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