Press Release

Catherine McKenney is Wrong on the Numbers

McKenney’s Plan would result in at least a 7 per cent property tax increase in years 3 and 4 of their mandate if elected

OTTAWA, ON - During this evening’s debate, Catherine McKenney accused Mark Sutcliffe of having a hole in his budget. Catherine McKenney claimed that his plan did not account for inflation on part of the budget.

That is incorrect. That is not a hole. That is the way municipal budgeting works.

As Catherine McKenney should know, the city receives about ½ of its revenue from user fees and government grants. Government grants rise with inflation, and user fees are normally adjusted for inflation and growth.

Mark Sutcliffe’s financial plan focuses on how budget pressures impact the property taxpayer. He is the only candidate that has provided an estimate of the pressures that will impact property taxes ($75-100 million).

Going into 2023, the total budget pressures from inflation and growth are the same for Mark Sutcliffe as they are for Catherine McKenney.

Catherine McKenney’s debate night stunt attempts to distract voters from a $650M spending spree. Their plan will raid the city’s reserves, jack up city debt, and would hike taxes beyond their stated 3% commitment.

Catherine McKenney’s 7% Property Tax Increase

Catherine McKenney’s plan claims it is funded by a “free balance”.They claim that some $267 million in “free balance” money would fund their big spending plans over four years.

This is not a concept that is used in municipal accounting.

Over four years, McKenney’s plan increases operating spending by $546M. Of that amount, McKenney is counting on recoveries of $108M from the federal government for housing, $50M from eliminating hotel costs, $35M from energy revenue/savings and $10M from the Gas Tax that is already dedicated to transit capital.

If those recoveries come through, that still leaves $343 million in new programs to fund including “free” transit for $72 million and $178 million to expand the transit system.


Without a substantive strategic review to find efficiencies, a 3 per cent tax increase would be needed just to maintain existing programs. That means that Catherine McKenney’s proposed 3% tax increase is already spoken for, as they have been clear - there is “no fat” left to cut at City Hall, and no efficiencies to be found.

After raiding the reserves for $90 Million that still leaves $253 million out of the $343 million in new spending to fund. Catherine McKenney’s spending plan will require 12 per cent in additional property tax dollars on top of the proposed 3 per cent annual tax hike that is already in McKenney’s plan.

Those additional tax hikes will occur in years 3 and 4, after McKenney has depleted the city’s reserves by $90M. Because their spending plan ramps up in the final two years, that translates to a property tax increase of at least 7 per cent to balance the books.

 

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Media Inquiries

Mark Sutcliffe Campaign
Liam Roche
+1 613-981-5426
media@marksutcliffe.ca