The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal has submitted its brief to Montréal’s pre-budget consultation for 2024. This exercise is very important for the city’s business community, as the resulting decisions will have a significant impact on the city’s business base.
While recent years’ budgets were prepared in the context of a pandemic crisis, the 2024 budget is being prepared in that of a global economic downturn, from which Canada and Quebec will presumably not escape, nor will Montréal. Successive interest rate hikes to curb inflationary pressures have a gradual effect, reaching their full impact only several quarters after they are announced. Thus, economic growth in 2023 is expected to be almost nil and the recovery in 2024 is expected to be rather timid, both in Quebec and in Canada, as the recent budgets of each indicate.
While the economy in general has emerged from the pandemic, this does not mean that the situation is comfortable. The short-term outlook remains difficult.
Against this backdrop, the Chamber is putting forward a set of recommendations on revenues, expenditures and priority projects and initiatives. The Commission will find an echo of positions defended since its first budgetary consultations, but which still deserve consideration today because sufficient progress has not been made or because of their potential in the current context.
Our approach is guided by three main principles:
- Diversify revenues
- Optimize spending and increase administrative efficiency
- Accelerate projects that foster the city’s economic development
The following are the Chamber’s recommendations:
Recommendation 1: To diversify revenue sources, increase the use of zero-cost eco-tax measures while ensuring that the funds facilitate the city’s green transition, in addition to applying the user-pay principle to ensure equity.
Recommendation 2: Propose a development charge approach for new construction that includes incentives in TOD areas and taxation for vacant units.
Recommendation 3: Continue narrowing the gap between residential and non-residential property taxes by targeting Québec City’s ratio over three years.
Recommendation 4: Limit the tax bill increase to a maximum of 3% in 2024 and, if necessary, spread the additional needs resulting from higher inflation over the following three years.
Recommendation 5: Concentrate the city’s expenditures in its areas of jurisdiction and, where appropriate, obtain full compensation for services provided in functions that the governments of Quebec and Canada are responsible for.
Recommendation 6: Develop a plan to address municipal government compensation and productivity in light of the next fiscal compact and continue optimization efforts between the three levels of government.
Recommendation 7: Accelerate the adoption of digital and innovative technologies to improve the municipal government’s service offering and harness Montréal’s creative potential to achieve this.
Recommendation 8: Put in place the conditions for more rapid disbursement of the amounts received by the governments of Quebec and Canada.
Recommendation 9: Accelerate the development of priority areas:
- Concentrate resources on the development of four priority areas: the Namur-Hippodrome neighbourhood, the Bridge-Bonaventure sector, the development of the former Royal Victoria Hospital site, and the decontamination of land in the East end of Montréal;
- Study the opportunity to establish a tripartite investment fund to fund infrastructure that facilitates densification and increased housing.
Recommendation 10: With respect to the downtown area:
- Fund the downtown strategy to match needs and ambitions;
- Allow class B and C buildings to be converted for residential use, while ensuring a longer-term supply that meets the needs of a growing economy.
Recommendation 11: Create a strong, unifying and distinctive brand image for Greater Montréal and promote it on priority international markets.
Download the study (in french only)