Calling Bullshit on the Ford's "$1 Billion" Claim

Both Rob and Doug Ford lie frequently, but they've been dropping one lie lately that really irks me. They keep claiming they've saved Toronto taxpayers "over a billion dollars".

I'll let Matt Elliott take it from here. He's decided to challenge the Ford's on their fiscal record while others pursue Rob's lie about the existence of a recording showing him smoking crack, calling Justin Trudeau a "fag" and Don Bosco students "just fucking minorities".

False. Absolutely, definitively false. I’ve turned this number over in my head again and again and I can’t find any fair accounting of the city’s finances that supports the Fords as saving anywhere near a billion dollars. When Mayor Rob Ford took office, the gross operating budget was $9.214 billion. This year, it’s $9.405 billion. That represents an increase of about $200 million, not a decrease of a billion dollars.

The net operating budget - the part of the budget you pay with your property taxes - increased from $3.534 billion to $3.713 billion. Also not a reduction of a billion dollars.

No math supports anything close to the $1 billion dollar claim and I'm sick of hearing Rob and Doug drop this figure like it's fact. It's yet another bald-faced lie but this one can't be blamed on a massive media conspiracy.

By now it's clear, however, that Ford Nation has no interest in facts.

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It's a number that may as well be a trillion or a googol or whatever. Most people can't comprehend a billion dollars. I can't comprehend a billion dollars. A B-2 bomber isn't (quite) a billion dollars. I can't think of another comparable object in that realm off-hand.

May 30, 2013 @ 12:31 AM


Personally I think its closer to $2 billion, the Fords are just going on the low side.

May 30, 2013 @ 4:09 AM


A politician who doesn't tell the truth gets an entry? That sucks.

May 30, 2013 @ 5:14 AM


Who's Matt Elliot?

May 30, 2013 @ 6:54 AM


The budget has seen a $20 M increase under Ford's first three years in office, not $200 M. I'm not sure where Elliot gets this $9.214 B figure from, because the City of Toronto's own website shows the budget was 9.38 B in 2011.

2011: 9.38 B
2012: 9.38 B
2013: 9.40 B

Miller's first three years in office?

2004: 6.6 B
2005: 7.1 B
2006: 7.6 B

Compared to Miller Ford has "increased" the budget by mere pennies. I put the word "increased" in quotations because when you factor in the rate of inflation and cost-of-living increases, the budget has actually increased lower than that rate. Toronto's Consumer Price Index (price level of a market basket of consumer goods and services) has increased by 5.3% since Ford became mayor, per StatsCan. Meanwhile, the budget has increased by only 0.2%, well blow the rate of inflation. So, based on the rate of inflation and the "cost of doing business" alone, the budget increases should have been higher.

Ford has saved the taxpayers a billion dollars in the sense that that's what the budget increased by during Miller's first three years, while Ford's budgets have leveled out with a minimal $20 M increase. Not only that, but the only reason the budget even increased by a mere $20 M is because the left hijacked facets of his 2013 and 2012 budgets and voted more money back into them. Aditionally, Ford has increased property taxes by only 4.5% in his first three years in office. David Miller increased property taxes a whopping 9% during his first three years as mayor.

Despite what left-wing blogger Matt Elliot claims, Rob Ford has indeed saved the taxpayers loads and loads of money.

May 30, 2013 @ 7:09 AM


chrissakes Mike, give it up.

Tell you what, I'll stop debating abortion and you quit the Ford make-believe libelous threads.

However, if the video turns up, you can let er rip.

May 30, 2013 @ 8:49 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Matt Elliott is a journalist tasked with the job of covering Toronto's City Hall.

May 30, 2013 @ 9:28 AM

Mike the Spike

The most interesting thing here is that Ford told his staff "not to worry," because he knew where the video was. What's the implication there? And with the owner of the video seemingly gone (along with the video itself), what are we to make of that in light of what Ford said?

I'm not even suggesting something sinister happened; quite possibly, the mayor of Toronto paid the drug dealer off to get this video to go away. That is an honest-to-god entirely plausible scenario at this point, and I cannot believe I have typed that sentence.

Unless you're willing to believe that multiple news outlets (some of which are hardly anti-Ford) are willing to bet the farm on an absolute fairy tale, this, to me - much more so than the actual crack smoking, for some reason - is the reason Ford simply cannot continue as mayor.

I was kind of happy to see Ford limp on to the next election in spite of the video, to be honest. The man's almost entirely neutered, politically, and he provides some seriously fun drama. Much better him, I said, than another capable right-wing guy who might actually accomplish something. But after this report, the man needs to leave. It really is - and not in a hokey way - about the foundation of democracy and honour and plain ole decency. Ford has so clearly demonstrated that those things are meaningless to him. That is not mayor of Toronto material.

And an aside to those who insist we must wait until the video surfaces: Get fucking real. The thing exists. Credible, respected journalists from independent news organizations said it does (one of which had zero stake in the Ford/Toronto issue; the others are serious investigative journalists who have uncovered scandals surrounding politicians from across the political spectrum).

So how long we going to wait? Another month? Past the summer? A couple years? We might never see this thing, perhaps because (and, again, it is amazing I am saying this) the mayor of Toronto successfully buried it. So he gets to continue playing mayor in all his disgrace for another year and a half, because we gave him the benefit of the doubt? We're going to give known serial liar and substance abuser, Rob Ford, the benefit of the doubt? Get a goddamn grip.

May 30, 2013 @ 9:29 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I like his response to that way to coming up with the phantom $1 billion figure:

Claiming Mayor Ford saved money versus this phantom scenario is like claiming he prevented an ape uprising because some other hypothetical mayor may have endorsed experimenting on super-intelligent chimps.
May 30, 2013 @ 9:36 AM

Level Headed

Use our heads a little guys. No accountant would look at these numbers and make the judgements you are making. Is the 1 billion quantifiable? I don't know, but I am sure they are referring to a reduction of what council would have spent, vs. what they are actually spending. I can't see them having saved over a billion if you look at it this way. Try to think from all aspects before making snap judgements.

May 30, 2013 @ 9:46 AM


Today is a beautiful day: Its hotter than hell, girls who should be wearing summer dresses are wearing them and Rob Ford is still mayor of Toronto.

May 30, 2013 @ 10:25 AM


Where did you get those numbers from? They're not what I'm looking at. You also failed to mention it was during the Millar era when Toronto has the fastest budgetary surplus growth.

Nice try.

May 30, 2013 @ 11:50 AM


Facts and numbers mean nothing to Ford Nation. Catchy slogans and 120pt headlines mean everything.

So ya, this article will sadly be ignored by the people it's trying to educate.

May 30, 2013 @ 12:58 PM


@Mike - Okay, I was being a little facetious with my "Who's Matt Elliott" question. I think referring to him as a "journalist" is maybe a little much. It'd be like calling you a journalist. He strikes me as another City Hall junkie with no credentials to speak of who hated Ford from day one and who lucked out with a gig at Metro News.
But I'll take your word for it and buy in to the notion that he's actually a savvy expert in city financial planning.

May 30, 2013 @ 2:04 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@ Corey

I'm not a journalist. But Matt Elliott is!

May 30, 2013 @ 2:11 PM


So once again, who's Matt Elliott?

May 30, 2013 @ 4:08 PM


More Ford stuff. Ford should resign. Let's get George Smitherman in there and get rid of Ford. It's like one scandal after another. I'm sick of Ford.

May 30, 2013 @ 5:00 PM


Matt Elliott is the guy who actually took the time to go number by number to prove like most of what Ford claims to be, that Fordmath is just crap. What Ford wants more than anything is a bunch of "reporters" right out of community college holding a microphone and nodding their heads as they spew nonsense. Looking at just "expenses" and flatlinning and calling it a "savings" is absurd. With that logic the homeless guy on the street is doing better than home owners because the homeless guy has lower expenses.

Lets say if there's population growth and you stack up more TTC (bus/streetcar/subway) your expenses have to go up (more staff & more equipment) but your revenue goes up too (more passengers) Expenses are just talking about money going out, without even looking at the money coming in. Hell it can be said that stagnant expenses is a bad sign, it means the city isn't growing.

But than again this is classic Ford math, I remember the casino debate was going on and he said the average salary will be 55,000. I just laughed my butt off because I remember my first lessons in HS accounting it said average is the worst stat for this sort of stuff as quality of pay of a company is average. Why is average such a dumb way to do payroll quality, well somebody can give the crony management (lets say former football players) a million dollar yearly salary, but the rest of the staff minimum wage, the "average" goes up because of the millionaires. The more accurate is using "the median".

Reminds me of Matt Gurney on 04/03 of this year (another conservative writer from the national post) saying fords funding subway through casino will a thousand years to complete the big move. Which ford suggest he would be able to do.

May 30, 2013 @ 5:10 PM


Perhaps Ford was referring to the budgets that former budget chief Michael Del Grande presented to council vs. the budget that was passed after all of the lefties got their hands on it. The original budgets were several hundred million dollars per year lower than what was passed. So yes, Ford (and Del Grande) did save tax payers about a billion dollars.

May 30, 2013 @ 6:05 PM

George Smitherman

@ Cheryl:

Please, please stop endorsing me. If you keep it up, I will NEVER become mayor. Thank you.

P.S. At least your trainer listens. Haven't seen him on my shuffle board or crokinole board lately!

May 31, 2013 @ 7:47 AM


All this speculation and innuendo regarding Rob Ford is nothing more than Peter Pan journalism.

If we wish it to be, then it is.

No burden of proof required when everything is alleged.

No video equals no story. nothing to see here... move along....

Maybe Argie can bore us to death with his abortion diatribes.

Anything is better than this self perpetuating circus created by the Toronto Star.

May 31, 2013 @ 3:15 PM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

Anon is me

May 31, 2013 @ 3:16 PM



I've given up on that - for now anyway.

I love the Editorial Commentary in the Globe today titled "Rob Ford must resign. Now. Regardless of what's happened."

So much for innocent until proven guilty. And in Ford's case, there hasn't even been an arrest.

May 31, 2013 @ 3:55 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Ford's handling of this controversy has been abysmal.

May 31, 2013 @ 3:57 PM


OK Mike, tell us how he should handle it.

Of course even if he were to follow your astute instructions, you would still complain about something he said or did.

May 31, 2013 @ 4:03 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Do you deny the existence of this video?

May 31, 2013 @ 4:06 PM


Thanks to the Ford's for slowing down the Gravy Train! The rest of you need to put this energy towards the Liberals who have waisted billions of our money. If you know how much a billion really is...

June 2, 2013 @ 12:59 PM

Trying here

Burden if proof is an interesting concept, not a Rob Ford fan, but feel he should not resign because he is a crack smoker as we have no proof that he has ever smoked crack. Whether or not he should resign over his handling of the controversy is a matter for voters to decide in the next election. As for his claim that he has saved me and my fellow taxpayers One Billion Dollars, that burden of proof now shifts to him, he said it, as such he should prove it, right now the numbers do not add up....Based on the prior comments it seems to distill down to 2 possible arguments, 1) what would have happened if David Miller was still mayor, which is kind of silly since you'd have to strip away all other external factors, otherwise I would argue that based on recent history the federal liberals under Jean Chretian were much more fiscally responsible that Harpers government. The second argument seems to be that he planned to save us a Billion Dollars but could not get his budget through council, which is very different than actually saving a Billion Dollars, ... I planned to lose 40 pounds last year; I was prevented from doing so because my wife is too good of a cook;, I don't go around telling people I lost 40 pounds last year...and in fact this speaks to his biggest problem as mayor, politics aside he has not demonstrated any capacity to achieve any sort of collaboration at council, and until we repeal provincial legislation and provide Toronto with a mayor who has the legal right to bend council to his will, the position demands someone who can build partnerships and collaboration at council, a skill which Rob Ford has not demonstrated at all, while I am admitted left leaning in my politics and as such I should prefer Olivia Chow, but I say lets all hope someone like John Tory runs...

June 7, 2013 @ 12:59 PM

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