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Montreal needs balanced budget plan and tax relief

Author: Renaud Brossard 01/09/2020
  • $403.7 million in savings identified by bringing municipal compensation in line with private sector practices;
  • $153.6 million in savings identified by re-evaluating infrastructure spending priorities;
  • Seven per cent reduction in residential and non-residential property tax rates.

MONTRÉAL, QC:  The Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on the City of Montreal to cut spending and provide tax relief as the CTF published its Montreal prebudget submission today.

“The budgetary crisis Montreal is going through right now must be met with ambitious solutions and bold decision-making to find efficiencies and lower taxes for Montreal families and businesses,” said CTF Quebec Director Renaud Brossard. “This administration will have to make though choices to make its budgets sustainable again.”

According to data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec, municipal employees earn 38.8 per cent more on average than private sector workers in similar positions.

Employee compensation costs Montreal taxpayers nearly $2.4 billion per year.

The CTF recommends reducing employee compensation by 15 per cent, and elected officials’ salaries by 15 to 20 per cent, which would allow for $403.7 million in savings.

“In normal times, city employee compensation was already out of whack with what their private sector colleagues have had,” said Brossard. “At a time where both the city and its taxpayers are going through financial hardship, bringing staff costs in line with the private sector should be a no-brainer.”

The CTF recommends freezing new infrastructure projects, such as the controversial Réseau express vélo, freeing up $153.6 million in savings in the 2021 budget.

“Our ability to pay has changed substantially when compared to six months ago, and that needs to be reflected in the upcoming budget,” said Brossard. “City Hall must focus on maintaining our existing infrastructure before spending on new ones such as the Réseau express vélo.”

The CTF is recommending seven per cent in property tax relief for residential and commercial properties, a measure which would put $346.7 million back into Montrealers’ pockets.

“Residents and shopkeepers are struggling financially right now,” said Brossard. “By reducing our tax bills, the city would help us contribute directly to our economic recovery.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s proposals would leave the Montreal’s budget with a $9.6 million surplus for 2021.

The CTF’s prebudget submission can be read here: http://www.taxpayer.com/media/FCC-M%C3%A9moire_pr%C3%A9budg%C3%A9taire_2021-Montr%C3%A9al.pdf