Get rid of school tax-collection agency

The Gazette

Friday, July 17, 2009

Re: “School-tax investment losses a blip: chairman” (Gazette, July 14).

Last April, the Comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire de l’île de Montréal was asking the education ministry for a bailout due to a financial investment it had made that went south.

It also wanted to see what the ministry could do “to offset the fact that we do not have (extra) monies for under-privileged areas,” said Fernando Barberini, head of the school-tax committee.

This committee that collects school taxes on Montreal Island wanted the money to continue supporting under-privileged schools with programs such as morning snacks and milk for students. (“School tax body seeks more cash,” Gazette, April 3).

We also learned there will be a 1.85-per-cent tax increase this year. Last year, homeowners’ school tax bill increased an average of 1.7 per cent. In 2007, the increase was 2.6 per cent.

A couple of weeks ago, many Montrealers received their school-tax bills. Part of the bill goes toward the management costs for school boards.

Now we find out that the chair of the school-tax committee considers their botched investment a “one- time blip.” That’s one “blip” too many.

Even though there are new Quebec government investment guidelines in place for public institutions, here is a better idea for Education Minister Michelle Courchesne to consider:

Why doesn’t the government simply liquidate the CGTSIM? Abolish this superfluous level of bureaucracy and reduce the taxpayers’ burden on the Island of Montreal.

Chris Eustace