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Report of the Working Group on Municipal Taxation: we need to calibrate municipal taxes to strengthen the city’s businesses

Montréal, August 22, 2016 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the tabling of the report on non-residential municipal taxation and economic development by the working committee chaired by Anne-Marie Hubert, managing partner, Quebec, at the consulting firm EY and member of the Board of Trade’s board of directors.

“The report tabled today is thorough and realistic,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “It highlights the city’s economic challenges and proposes concrete solutions for supporting merchants and improving the metropolitan area’s business environment. It is a step in the right direction for strengthening the city’s economy.”

Recommendations for taxation better suited to the city’s needs
“The Board of Trade is delighted with the working group’s proposal to close the gap between the tax burden on non-residential and residential buildings,” Michel Leblanc said. “Local businesses, particularly smaller ones, need to grow in a competitive tax environment. Excessive property taxes are an obstacle to entrepreneurship, growth and job creation. The Ville de Montréal’s efforts in this direction must continue.”

“The Board of Trade also supports the proposal to shift toward eco-taxation by studying the possibility of charging for water in residential buildings,” said Mr. Leblanc. “Eco-taxation would foster energy-efficient, sustainable behaviour among companies and individuals and stimulate productivity, while reducing our environmental footprint. Plus, with the use of new sources of financing such as the kilometre tax and land value capture, the city will have additional revenue to finance strategic infrastructures. However, the Board of Trade points to the importance of respecting three essential principles: (1) the business environment and tax burden need to be predictable; (2) we need to apply new measures gradually to give businesses a chance to adapt; and (3) the tax burden and overall user fees charged need to be competitive.”

A client-driven approach is essential to improving the efficiency of services to businesses
“In line with the report, the business community encourages the Ville de Montréal to establish a client-driven culture,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Businesses need flexible financing solutions and support on the ground. There is a multitude of programs and services to businesses already available through government. Harmonizing programs, along with more personalized service to companies, will increase the productivity of the city’s businesses.”

The vitality of businesses and commercial arteries must be top priority
“We are behind the recommendation to better support merchants during construction,” Michel Leblanc said. “These measures will help ensure the sustainability of local businesses and the vitality of commercial arteries, and maintain the city’s attractiveness. Completing strategic infrastructures is essential for the city’s economic development, but must go hand in hand with mitigation and compensation measures for merchants during construction.”

“We also commend the Mayor of Montréal’s positive response to the report and intention to implement the working group’s recommendations,” Michel Leblanc said. “Once again, the business community offers the Ville de Montréal its full cooperation in implementing these recommendations and supports it in efforts to obtain metropolitan status to give it the powers it needs to do so.”

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration, and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.

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Guillaume Bérubé
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042

Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmmqcca

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