The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
is presenting its brief
to the Quebec Minister of Finance
as part of the pre-budget consultations
Montreal, January 27, 2004 On behalf of its some 7,000 members, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is presenting today its brief to Quebec Minister of Finance Yves Séguin as part of the pre-budget consultations.
The Board of Trade's brief presents a series of concrete recommendations regarding the choices the government will have to make for next year's budget. Besides the importance of balancing the budget, the Board of Trade identified two major issues that must be addressed to allow Greater Montreal to boost its competitiveness and support its economic development: city financing and greater business competitiveness.
We are well aware that these economic times call for some tough choices. Keeping this in mind, the Board of Trade has made constructive proposals that could boost the economic performance of the Greater Montreal area, and by extension, that of Quebec. In order for businesses to be able to continue driving the economy and create more wealth for citizens, the government must invest strategically in innovation, productivity and competitiveness, stated Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade.
For the Board of Trade, it is absolutely essential that the methods of financing cities be dramatically improved. To allow our major urban centres to become more financially independent and fully exercise their role as economic engines, new, predictable, recurring and diversified revenue sources must be implemented. Only then will they be able to carry out their responsibilities and find creative ways to deliver services to citizens, added Mr. Labonté.
Thus, with a view to making a relevant and responsible contribution, the Board of Trade is today submitting its recommendations to the provincial government.
Summary of recommendations
Improving city financing
The Board of Trade recommends:
|That the Government of Quebec being working closely with the representatives of Quebec's largest cities and with the federal government to find ways of increasing and diversifying the revenue sources of large cities. The reflection in this regard should begin during this fiscal year and lead to profound, lasting changes in city financing no later than the 2005-2006 budgets;
|That the Government of Quebec immediately share one percentage point (1/7.5) of QST revenues with the cities of Quebec, without increasing the tax burden of the province's residents;
|That as of the next budget year, the Government of Quebec exempt municipalities from QST or fully refund them the tax as of the next budget year;
|That the compensation in lieu of taxes paid by the Government of Quebec to the municipalities equal 100% of the local taxes on the property value of all the buildings it owns as of the next budget year.
Enhancing our economic competitiveness
The Board of Trade recommends:
|That the governments of Quebec and Canada, in conjunction with municipal administrations, jointly and actively participate in setting up public works, private capital partnerships to finance value-added urban infrastructures;
|That the Government of Quebec immediately and completely abolish the capital tax, a tax measure considered to be highly detrimental to business productivity, the competitiveness of financial institutions and job creation;
|That the Government of Quebec ensure the rapid construction of the two university hospital centres in Montreal;
|That the Government of Quebec set up export support measures such as a government-backed fund devoted exclusively to financing the export projects of low- and medium-technology companies.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of the Greater Montreal region and, as a contributing and responsible player, to promote the economic development of the urban area. Encompassing three specialized services (Info entreprises, the Electronic Commerce Institute and World Trade Centre Montréal) that serve merchants and businesses of all sizes throughout Quebec and Canada, the Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015
Provincial pre-budget submission (PDF, 180 Ko).