MONTREAL — The cities of Laval and Longueuil have made it into the province’s bad books.
Municipal Affairs minister Pierre Moreau is threatening to pull back transfer payments unless both municipalities reverse their planned tax hikes. Moreau says he has to do something because the tax hikes are unjustifiable.
Longueuil plans on raising residential property taxes by 3.9 per cent and Laval by 3.2 per cent. Both of those figures are higher than the rate of inflation and both municipalities have a surplus.
Laval is also planning on hiring 90 new employees.
Moreau even goes so far as to say Laval is treating its citizens like “morons.”
“The surplus in Laval is $177 million, which is the most important surplus of all the 1,133 municipalities of Quebec,” Moreau told reporters at the National Assembly Wednesday.
Longueuil’s surplus is $10.7 million.
Moreau says they either have to use their surpluses or reduce their spending.
“Those surpluses don’t belong to the mayor of Laval or Longueuil, it belongs to the taxpayers.”
Moreau says if they don’t change their mind, he’ll reduce the transfers and reimburse taxpayers himself.
The provincial government has already cut transfer payments to Quebec municipalities by $300 million.
Laval has implemented the tax increase in order to offset that lost.
On her Twitter account Wednesday, Longueuil mayor Caroline St-Hilaire said that she wouldn’t respond to the provincial government’s threat and instead preferred to focus on honouring Habs legend Jean Beliveau, whose funeral service was held Wednesday.