Montréal, November 12, 2012 – As part of the pre-budget consultations led by Quebec Finance and Economy Minister Nicolas Marceau, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal voiced a reminder of the necessity to reach budget balance as planned in 2013-2014 while making the economic development of the metropolitan area a strategic priority to improve the overall prosperity of the province. “We understand the emergency for the government to specify its intentions in a duly presented budget. It is important however to remain open to the possibility of putting together an additional budget this spring if the evolution of the situation justifies it,” stated Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
“The recommendations we submitted to the Minister last weekend are in line with a global context that remains challenging, hence the importance of capitalizing on the resilience of our economy to straighten up our public finances and thus provide for renewed budgetary leeway. The government must reach budget balance in 2013-2014 as planned, and without further increasing the taxpayers’ fiscal burden. To achieve this, it must rationalize its expenses, increase its productivity and give priority to migrating some public goods and services prices/rates toward the market price if needed. Quebec has hesitated too often to restore budget balance while our economy was expanding in the past. This resulted in a huge debt that exerts an excessive burden on our public finances,” Leblanc explained.
“Due to the persistent fragility of the global economic outlook, the government must avoid sudden departures from its economic strategy. It must keep on executing projects that provide structure for our economy and, notably, make the smooth flow of people and goods a priority for the metropolitan area. We are not asking for new construction sites, but for the completion of transport infrastructure projects such as the reconstruction of the Turcot interchange and public transit investments within the shortest possible time span,” Leblanc added.
“In addition, the balanced, sustainable and responsible development of natural resources represents a formidable asset for the province and its largest city. The government must specify the parameters of the mining royalty system and clarify its strategy as soon as possible in terms of natural resource development. A clear and predictable system will stimulate investments,” the President and CEO continued.
“The government must also set productivity and human capital at the heart of its priorities to ensure the persistence of our growth. This is absolutely critical considering the aging of our population. To this end, the government must improve the professional integration of immigrants, solve the university underfunding issue, promote education/training more accurately aligned to the needs of businesses, and effectively support innovation,” he emphasized.
“Finally, let us keep in mind that the development of the Montréal area is directly tied to its creativity and capacity to create, attract and promote the growth of its businesses. We ask the government to support our driving sectors, to lend a hand to our businesses on international markets, to swiftly implement the entrepreneurship strategy, and also to decrease the administrative and financial burden shouldered by businesses,” Leblanc concluded.
Here is a summary of the recommendations submitted by the Board of Trade:
- Reach budget balance in 2013-2014 without further increasing the taxpayers’ fiscal burden.
- Leap into action regarding major projects that structure our economy.
- Improve the productivity of our economy and increase talent attraction and retention.
- Promote the creation, growth and retention of businesses within the Montréal metropolitan area.
The full text of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal pre-budget recommendations can be viewed here (in French only – English to come).
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
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