While the city battles the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Montreal has unveiled its $6.17 billion budget for 2021, which is highlighted by a non-increase of taxes for businesses over the next year.
Residential taxpayers will see a 0.2% hike, according to Ville de Montreal.
The city will increase its net debt in 2021 to $6.4 billion, up from $6.25 billion in 2020. Montreal is also relying on a $263 million transfer from the Quebec government, aimed to offset the financial burden the city has gone through since the start of the pandemic.
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At a press conference in Montreal on Thursday, Mayor Valérie Plante said her administration is keeping its promise to freeze tax increases for businesses, but residential taxes will increase by 0.2% due to “budget increases in respective boroughs.”
According to Benoît Dorais, an executive committee chair member for Montreal, the tax freeze will cost the city $56 million.
Plante says she intends to keep an election promise made in 2017 to make transit free for children and seniors. As of July 2021, fares will reduce by 50% for people over the age of 65, and kids under 12 will be able to ride for free.
As part of the budget, Montreal will invest $9.3 million towards “fair pricing measures” on public transit.
“The budget we are presenting this year carries a very special meaning. Prepared at a time when Montréal is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, this budget aims first and foremost to meet the needs of fellow Montrealers,” says Plante. “It is a budget anchored in today’s reality as the second wave of the pandemic is sweeping through our city while we work towards our economic recovery.”
#Budget2021: c’est confirmé, il n’y aura pas de hausse de taxes à la Ville centre en 2021. C’est un répit que nous offrons aux familles montréalaises et aux propriétaires de commerces qui ont fait preuve de résilience pour traverser la crise. (2/6) #polmtl pic.twitter.com/WZNsxHeoBt
— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) November 12, 2020
“I am very proud of this budget. Just like I am very proud of Montrealers’ resilience throughout this crisis. This budget enables us to fight against the pandemic and to come out of this stronger and more confident in our future,” concluded Plante.
A more in-depth study of the budget, including the 2020-2030 climate plan, infrastructures, and transit projects can be found here.