After months of repeating it, Valérie Plante hopes this time to be heard. The property tax has fizzled and Quebec must share its share of the tax pie: this is the message it will hammer home on Thursday, accompanied by the mayors of the other large cities in the province for a Summit on taxation that it hopes will be “historic “.
What there is to know
- The mayors of large cities in Quebec are meeting Thursday in Montreal as part of a Summit on municipal taxation.
- Valérie Plante argues that the property tax model, based on the value of real estate, is completely outdated.
- Mme Plante and his colleagues will ask Quebec to find a solution to the “tax inequity” that remains between Quebec and the cities.
“We absolutely must think outside of the single property tax model. Why does another level of government have access to the QST? she asked herself out loud on Wednesday in an interview with The Press in his office at City Hall. Why wouldn’t we have a better share of the pie considering our increasing responsibilities? »
If Quebec responds by mentioning the labor costs of cities, where employees earn a much better living than elsewhere, Mme Plante has his answer ready: “If the government, for him, is a serious avenue, he will have to issue a decree and get involved directly, in relation to collective agreements. » The cities have “their hands tied” when it comes to labor relations, assessed the mayor.
“In the same way that all Quebecers and all Montrealers agree when the Quebec government asks for better tax fairness from the federal government, I expect the Quebec government to agree with the legitimate request of the cities for more fairness,” she added.
The mayors of big cities have a steep slope to climb on this issue. A year ago almost to the day, they asked Quebec to conclude a “Green Pact” with them including the transfer of $10 billion in provincial money over five years to municipalities. During the election campaign, the Prime Minister rejected the idea out of hand, in the name of “Quebecers’ ability to pay”.
“We’re at a bit of an impasse”
Mme Plante invited her counterparts as president of the large cities caucus of the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ). The elected officials had dinner together Wednesday evening before officially meeting Thursday at the Montreal Science Center. The Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest, was also expected.
The latter should not have expected many surprises. For at least a year, Valérie Plante has been repeating in every forum that the property tax model – which finances around 60% of its budget – is “archaic”, “outdated”, “disconnected from reality”. “We are at a bit of an impasse,” added the mayor on Wednesday, a few hours before the meeting.
At the heart of the problem, from M’s point of viewme Plant: the growing costs of homelessness, the ecological crisis, public transportation and housing exceed the ability of owners to pay through property taxes.
On the one hand, Montreal is proposing to turn to eco-taxation (the taxation of polluting behavior) to meet part of its growing needs, but on the other hand it would like to conclude a new, more advantageous tax pact in 2024.
The world is no longer what it used to be. 10 years ago, we weren’t dealing with climate adaptation. 10 years ago, there weren’t people who found themselves having to sleep in the street – there were a few, but never like now. We can no longer manage the State in the same way.
Valérie Plante, mayor of Montreal
“Because the world is changing, the tax model must also change,” added Mme Plant. We will show that we are ready to stand together. We’re not going to give up, that’s for sure. »
Montreal swears that it has done its homework in terms of controlling its own spending before coming to the negotiating table with Quebec.
“We make a lot of effort,” said M.me Plant. But all these efforts will never be able to meet the needs, which are gigantic. I just have to think about the adaptation of the territory (to climate change), the infrastructure maintenance deficit. »
Local media: “We did what we said we were going to do”
Valérie Plante rejected the accusations of her former environment manager, who accused her on Wednesday of having “betrayed” the local newspapers. Jean-François Parenteau, member of the City’s executive committee from 2017 to 2021, affirmed in an interview that the Plante administration was committed to supporting the media when banning the systematic distribution of Publisac, which did not not been done. This is not the mayor’s opinion. “We acted very diligently. We really put the sums aside to be able to support the media and particularly Métro (Media), said Mme Plant Wednesday. We did what we said we were going to do. » His administration released a $2 million aid program last fall for local newspapers, an amount that Mr. Parenteau considers completely separate from the Publisac file.
Philippe Teisceira-Lessard, The Press