May 28, 2014 4:15 pm
Updated: May 28, 2014 7:30 pm

Quebec Liberals to index school taxes

QUEBEC CITY – Another surprise announcement from the Liberals.: school taxes will go up, probably at the rate of inflation.

“With the cost of life it’s possible the school taxes can have a small increase,” said Education Minister Yves Bolduc. “However, we don’t want to have an increase like last year with the Parti Québécois.”

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Last year, the PQ government angered Quebecers when it allowed school boards to raise school taxes by as much as 30 per cent in some areas. The PQ tabled legislation to force the boards to pay back about half of the money raised. That never happened. Now the Liberals are keeping that 30 per cent increase — and then some.

“Our priority is to achieve a balanced budget,” said Premier Philippe Couillard.

What to do with school boards has been a hot topic in recent years. The CAQ wants to abolish them.

“I think that Mr. Couillard is not taking the right strategy in increasing school taxes, tarriffs of Hydro-Quebec. First it’s a promise broken ,second it’s very bad for the economy,” said CAQ leader François Legault.

The PQ agrees there’s lots of room for cuts at the board level.

“If you look at the rhythm at which expenditures have increased in our school boards, it’s above that of the Quebec government,” PQ Finance Critic Nicolas Marceau told reporters. “There is scope there to reduce the increase in expenditures and to help them I think we should regroup them.”

The Liberals argued they’re looking to preserve student services, but Quebecers have to be ready to pay.

“I think Quebecers should worry,” added Legault. “The more the days are going the more we see the promises that were made by Mr. Couillard not to increase the tax burden won’t be realized.”

The Couillard government, argued PQ interim leader Stéphane Bédard, is getting ready to hit taxpayers on all fronts.

Opposition parties are convinced it’s possible to achieve a balanced budget next year without raising Quebecers’ tax burden. The Liberals will table their budget in Quebec City June 4, 2014.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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