Jean Fortier promises Montrealers tax cuts, fewer orange cones

Jean Fortier says if he's elected mayor of Montreal on Nov. 5, he'll rein in city finances, cut taxes by 10 per cent over four years, and cut the number of construction zones in town.

Fortier and his party, Coalition Montreal, outlined their platform on Wednesday, which leaned heavily toward fiscal prudence.

He says since Denis Coderre has been in office, the city's net debt has shot up 31 per cent, meaning the cost of servicing the debt would be 21 per cent, something he considers "very dangerous" considering interest rates are on the rise.

Fortier told a media briefing that he has several ways to cut costs — for instance, fewer Coderre-style celebrations, and cutting the number of construction zones. Scaling back the number of work sites around town, he says, would help save the city $180 million per year. 

Among the projects he plans to put on hold would be a major reworking of Ste. Catherine St., set to begin in 2018. He would delay that work for at least two years.

Fortier also says he wants Quebec to offload certain responsibilities from the city to the agglomeration council, including economic development, promotion of the city on the world stage, culture and the environment, which Fortier says would save another $100 million.

Another $100 million in new revenue could come from taxing buildings which use water for the purposes of healing and cooling.

All this, he says, would allow a Fortier administration to freeze taxes in 2018, cut them by 3 per cent in 2019, 3.5 per cent in 2020 and by another 3.5 per cent in 2021.