With inflation raging, Quebec announces it will limit school tax increase for 2022


After the $500 cheques to help cope with inflation, the Coalition Avenir Québec government announced a freeze on school taxes for citizens.

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Finance Minister Eric Girard announced the measure emerging from a meeting of the Quebec cabinet. It means citizens who would have seen their school taxes increase by as much as 17 per cent on average for 2022 will be spared.

The increase will be limited to between two and three per cent with the government making up the difference at a cost of $173 million, Girard said.

“In the current context where inflation and the increase in the cost of living is already hitting families hard, we have decided to limit the increase of school taxes to avoid them having to bear their additional fiscal burden,” Girard told reporters.

“The action is on top of other actions we have taken to help Quebecers cope with the increase in the cost of living.”

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Girard explained school boards and service centres wanted the larger increase to make up for the costs of increasing the salaries for teachers and the addition of staff.

The announcement means the mill rate on the municipal evaluation of a property will be cut — on average — from 0.1054 per $100 in evaluation to 0.1024.

The owner of a home with an evaluation of $350,000 that was facing an increase of $60 for the year will now pay only $10. The owner of a home worth $500,000 facing an $80 increase will pay $11 more.

Girard, however, denied the decision was an electoral move, a way to match the middle-class tax cut the Liberals promised Quebecers over the weekend.

He said Wednesday was the last day cabinet could adopt a decree on school taxes because school boards and service centres send out their annual bills July 1.

“I’m not competing with anybody,” Girard said. “It’s the public finances of all Quebecers. and what we’re trying to do is always have a sound and prudent fiscal framework in order for the government to be resilient in the face of whether there’s a pandemic or economic shortfall.”

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