Mayoral candidate George Smitherman announced his plan to increase taxpayer confidence in the city budget if elected mayor this fall.
Smitherman pledged Tuesday that, if elected, he would immediately freeze municipal taxes and city hiring for a year.

During that freeze, he would also stop all new city spending and personally lead city council on a 100-day review of the city's operating and capital budgets.

His proposed line-by-line review would look for waste and non-essential spending, putting the city budget "under a microscope," he said.

Calling it a "back to basics" plan, Smitherman took issue with TTC and some city councillors' spending, saying it's out of line with taxpayers' expectations.

"It's time to put the big spenders at City Hall on a diet -- the TTC can find the money to build a plush new headquarters and museum, but not to keep the subway stations clean. The spending binge is over," he announced.

Citing taxpayer confidence as his prime motivation for these promises, Smitherman added his campaign's more detailed budget plans will be released on September 27.

Smitherman also proposed to make himself budget chief -- a move that drew fire from other contenders.

"He's trying to take a page out of my playbook, but it's not going to work because I've walked the walk for 10 years," Coun. Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) said in response.

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone said Smitherman was trying to position himself closer to Ford.

Publisher Sarah Thomson rejected having the mayor serve as budget chief.

"The Sarah Thomson administration will hire somebody who's fiscally responsible and has a proven track record of accountability," she said.

Thomson brought up the eHealth scandal, but Smitherman wasn't health minister when eHealth was created.

He was in charge during much of the existence of its predecessor -- the Smart Systems for Health Agency. That arm's-length agency spent $650 million in the effort to build a electronic medical records system for Ontario, but didn't provide much in the way of results.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Alicia Markson