It is interesting to observe the debate in Toronto as the city government attempts to balance their budget. In a recent commentary, Kelly McParland has put forward a suggestion about how to move forward. He suggests sending each tax payer in Toronto an itemized list of proposed cuts and then translating those estimates into required tax increases to pay for those services if they are not cut.
I think he is onto a productive course with this suggestion. Perhaps to make the process even more informative, residents who pay rent could also be sent a comparable notice so the cost of providing services is apparent to them as well.
I wonder if people realized how much their local library branch and other service cost them as individuals, would their definition of essential core services change? Maybe not, but then the logical course of action would be to increase taxes or user fees to pay for the provision of those services.