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Taxpayers tell Montreal to freeze taxes, review expenditures

Author: Renaud Brossard 2021/05/05
  • The Plante administration estimates Montreal’s budget shortfall to be $294 million for 2022.

MONTRÉAL, QC – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the city of Montreal to rein in spending and provide desperately needed tax relief through its prebudget recommendations.

“What was financially questionable before COVID has become financially untenable now,” said CTF Quebec Director Renaud Brossard. “Things like the 40 per cent pay premium municipal employees enjoy over their private sector peers has to end.”

Data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec indicates municipal employees in Quebec earn on average 40 per cent more than their private sector peers. Data from HEC Montréal’s Centre sur la productivité et la prospérité indicates Montreal is no exception to this rule.

The CTF recommends an immediate pay freeze for city employees, followed by a 15 per cent reduction in municipal employee compensation which would generate savings of $440 million in 2022.

The CTF is also calling on the city to re-examine infrastructure spending.

“Montreal’s financial situation and the construction industry’s current overheat means we can’t afford to build everything at once,” said Brossard. “Before spending money on shiny new things, City Hall should prioritize renewing its existing infrastructure that’s past its best before date.”

In a recent submission to the Government of Quebec, the Association de la construction du Québec warned that a strong demand coupled with a lack of workers created a “perfect cocktail for a considerable hike in construction costs.”

According to the CTF’s calculations, postponing new infrastructure projects would save $120 million in this year’s operating budget and to reduce the debt by $188 million compared to 2021.

“Montreal’s economy has taken a significant hit in the last year, and taxpayers don’t have the money to pay higher taxes this year,” said Brossard. “By freezing property tax rates for a second year in a row, city hall will help fund the economic recovery.”

Freezing property taxes would leave an extra $70 million in residents and shopkeepers’ pockets according to the city’s own estimates.

Representatives from the CTF will be presenting their submission to elected officials tonight at 7PM.

You can read the CTF’s prebudget submission here: LINK