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article imageRocco Rossi unveils comprehensive 'together we can' fiscal plan Special

By Andrew Moran     Oct 6, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi unveiled his latest comprehensive platform book titled "Together We Can." Reporters gathered at Rossi's campaign headquarters where he stated "I don't believe in bribing voters with their own money."
Toronto’s municipal election is less than three weeks away and the latest polls show that Rob Ford has a slight lead over rival George Smitherman. Meanwhile, Joe Pantalone and Rocco Rossi remain in the bottom half. However, Rossi claims that internal polling suggests he is the number two choice for Ford and Smitherman voters.
On Tuesday, Rossi held a press conference at his campaign headquarters in downtown Toronto where reporters gathered for the mayor hopeful’s release of his comprehensive platform book titled “Together We Can,” which highlights his fiscal plan that balances the city’s budget without having to implement tax hikes or cut services.
The former CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Ontario said his in-depth plan is not “sugar coating” the
issues at hand and there is “no politician to tell them what they want to hear.”
“I’ve talked with thousands of Torontonians recently at the door and they’re all saying the same thing: Together We Can,” said Rossi in front of a dozen reporters. “Together, we can begin the dream again, for now and for future generations.”
Toronto mayoral candidate  Rocco Rossi.
Toronto mayoral candidate, Rocco Rossi.
Rossi further noted that he is the only candidate running for mayor that offers real change from the status quo: “Unlike my two principal opponents I don’t believe in bribing voters with their own money. Torontonians want change, not chaos.”
The former campaign manager for John Tory’s run for mayor in 2003 offered five general steps to get the city’s fiscal structure back under control: Leadership starts at the top. Get city costs under control. Reduce city debt to allow us to invest in infrastructure. Reform the budget process. Getting our own house in order.
Some of his specific proposals include:
- Cutting the mayor’s salary by 10 percent and freeze it for one term.
- Order an independent, third party review and audit of the city’s finances.
- Pay down the debt by “monetizing some or all of Toronto Hydro,” sell off a minority share of Enwave and sell or lease surplus land (Toronto owns about $18 billion in land).
- Link new budget planning to the long term strategic plan.
- Get your own house under order: “We cannot expect other levels of government to bail out Toronto."
Toronto mayoral candidate  Rocco Rossi.
Toronto mayoral candidate, Rocco Rossi.
Rossi’s platform book also seeks to remove $460 million from the city’s budget by 2015. One of the measures includes a $100 million, or 10 percent, savings on Toronto procurement. Another proposal is to have competition for “appropriate non-essential services.”
Digital Journal asked Rossi if he would consider ending his bid for mayor if the next couple of polls show he remains stagnant and he responded with optimism: “That’s a hypothetical that will not happen because the polls will go up.”
Despite his polling numbers, Rossi has been all over the news for more than a month. During Tuesday’s CBC Radio mayoral debate, Rossi caught Ford allegedly flip-flopping on his promise to end all free metropasses.
“I didn't say they were a waste,” said Ford. “You did. I’ve got the tapes!” responded Rossi, who later stated: “Councillor Ford has already flip-flopped twice today. What other promises will he break if he's elected?”
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