MONTREAL, JUNE 8, 2015 – English Montreal School Board Chairman Angela Mancini is calling upon political leaders from the provincial and municipal levels to speak up now about the potential skyrocketing school tax that will occur on the island of Montreal if proposed changes to school board governance are adopted in the National Assembly.
The Comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire de l’île de Montréal (CGTSIM), which is responsible for the centralized management of the school tax on behalf of the five school boards on the island of Montreal, estimates at just over $ 100 million the additional amount in school taxes that could be paid by taxpayers in its territory if the government opts for a unique school tax rate in Quebec. The tax rate would increase to $ 0.24 per $ 100 of assessment, instead of the current $ 0.19 on the island of Montreal in order to provide the government the annual income of $2 billion of school taxes for the entire province of Quebec.
“The Minister of Education has announced that he plans to abolish school commissioners, which will effectively result in school taxation without representation,” commented Ms. Mancini. “Based on the figures presented to us by the CGTSIM, our political representatives will have a full blown tax revolt on their hands. The time for them to speak up is now.”
The CGTSIM wonders about the fairness of a property tax imposed on a provincial level since the values on the assessment rolls for the buildings vary greatly depending on their location. Patricia R. Lattanzio, the EMSB commissioner for St. Léonard and chair of the CGTSIM, is also concerned about the financing of measures to help students from underprivileged schools on the island of Montreal. “The concerned schools will be deprived of $8 million of services financed by the income from tax collection if school tax management is entrusted to municipalities,” she suggests. “Furthermore, the taxpayers of the island of Montreal will pay $ 100 million to compensate for lower school taxes collected from other regions of Québec. Where is the fairness in what is being proposed by the government?”
Ms Lattanzio added that « the government should consider adopting a model such as the CGTSIM throughout Quebec, This model ensures an efficient and cost saving system to the school boards. It has been in place since 1990 and enables the standardization of the school tax rate within the territory of the school boards. In addition, interest income from the tax collection is allocated for educational catch-up measures in underprivileged areas.