Valérie Plante pressed to cap property tax increases

After an unexpected tax hike last year, Valérie Plante's administration should limit property tax increases to one per cent, the opposition at Montreal city hall says.

The 'right thing to do' after breaking promise in last year's budget, says opposition leader Lionel Perez

The leader of Ensemble Montréal, Lionel Perez, left, and Alan DeSousa, the mayor of the Saint-Laurent borough presented their budget wish list Wednesday. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

After an unexpected tax hike last year, Valérie Plante's administration should limit property tax increases to one per cent, the opposition at Montreal city hall says.

Lionel Perez, the leader of Ensemble Montréal, made the demand Wednesday, a day before Plante is set to announce the annual city budget.

"If they want to make amends for breaking the promise for increasing the rate of taxes beyond the rate of inflation, they have to take these two as a whole, and as a whole, the right thing to do is to limit to one per cent," he said.​

Plante has already said Montrealers won't see an average tax increase greater than the rate of inflation for 2019, which is somewhere around two per cent.

She promised the same thing last year during the election campaign.

But she broke that promise, blaming an unexpected budget shortfall she said was left behind by the previous administration.

The average increase last year was 3.3 percent.

Perez also wants the Plante administration to help small businesses by applying a lower tax rate to the first $500,000 of any non-residential building's value.

Perez says a smaller increase will help homeowners and businesses plan for an expected financial downturn.

A group representing citizens and businesses in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough also called Wednesday for a freeze on tax rates.

Plante's budget is expected to try to strike a balance between the environment and the economy. 

The budget will contain previously announced funding for an office to manage the Pink line public transit project, as well as funding for merchants and housing — all issues her Projet Montréal party has long championed.

With files from Steve Rukavina