Flaherty's maiden budget contains important measures
to boost city and businesses competitiveness
Montreal, May 2, 2006 The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the budget handed down today by Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, especially the measures designed to boost the competitiveness of the nation's businesses and cities.
The Board of Trade believes that all levels of government should make it a priority to support business competitiveness and innovation so that our economy can become more productive and create more wealth for its citizens. In this regard, it is particularly important to encourage investment by creating a more attractive tax structure and allowing companies to reinvest more in their success. We are therefore very pleased with the government's announcement to immediately abolish the investment sapping capital tax, a move the Board of Trade has been recommending for a long time, stated the Board of Trade's president and CEO, Isabelle Hudon.
This budget contains attractive measures for businesses of all sizes. We especially commend the government for relieving the tax burden of SMEs by gradually cutting their tax rate. As for large companies, besides the elimination of the capital tax, the reduction in corporate income tax rates is also a step in the right direction, added Isabelle Hudon.
In the same vein, we welcome the measures designed to reduce the tax burden of individuals. If there's one thing most people agree on is that Canadians are overtaxed, and therefore, we are pleased to see that the government is prepared to reduce its revenues to a level more in line with its needs, continued Ms. Hudon.
Measures to boost city competitiveness
The Board of Trade was particularly pleased with a number of measures because of the favourable impact they will have on the competitiveness of Quebec's metropolis.
The Board of Trade commends the government for recognizing the importance of urban infrastructures and acknowledging their need for stable, predictable funding. We are also pleased to see the government's interest in public transit and its willingness to participate in the investments required for it to meet growing needs. The new tax credit for public transit passes is also appreciated. The fact is that any time public transit increases its market share, both the economy and the urban environment benefit, said Isabelle Hudon.
The additional investment to improve border security is also in line with the Board of Trade's recommendations. Investments aimed at facilitating trade with the U.S. are particularly important for companies in Greater Montreal, which account for 70% of Quebec's exports, emphasized the president and CEO.
And as for culture, the fact that the Canada Council for the Arts will get $50 million extra over the next two years is definitely a step in the right direction. However, given culture's importance for the city's vitality and drawing power, we would still like to see the Council's budget increased to $300 million, stated Isabelle Hudon.
Overall, Prime Minister Harper's government has handed down a budget that keeps his campaign promises. It is a budget that calls for targeted actions and tight management of the public purse by reigning in spending. That said, the government must continue investing in wealth creation and thereby exploit metropolitan Montreal's full potential, concluded Isabelle Hudon.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants and 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 the largest private organization in Quebec dedicated to economic development.
Coordinator, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015