Vigilance and clear-sightedness: the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presents
its pre-budget recommendations to the Québec Minister of Finance
Montréal, December 7, 2009 - During the pre-budget consultations held by Québec Minister of Finance Raymond Bachand, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presented recommendations aimed at supporting the nascent economic recovery and paving the way back to a balanced budget.
"The Québec government must be clear-sighted and extremely vigilant when attempting to balance the public purse so as not to stifle our as-yet tenuous economic growth. It must invest in measures that will make our economy more competitive and ensure long-term growth," said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. "At the same time, the government must immediately start thinking about ways to rebalance the budget. This is a major challenge that will require a healthy dose of courage and rigour," added Leblanc.
The Board of Trade makes the following four recommendations:
•1. Continue the stepped-up pace of public infrastructure investments in three priority areas. As such, the Board of Trade suggests that the government continue and even increase the pace of its investments in transportation infrastructures; begin construction of Montréal's super-hospitals in 2010; and quickly allocate the funds required to complete the phases of the Quartier des spectacles.
•2. Support investment in human capital by boosting university funding and stepping up efforts to attract, integrate and retain qualified foreign workers.
•3. Improve our economy's productivity through research and innovation by encouraging local businesses to systematically adopt the latest innovations, developed here and elsewhere, especially in the traditional sectors. The Board of Trade would also like to see an increase in the university system's contribution to innovation and additional mechanisms to better align academic research with corporate needs.
•4. Pave the way for a gradual return to a balanced budget and eventually reduce Québec's debt ratio. To this end, the Board of Trade recommends an in-depth review of and a sharp cutback in public spending along with an increase in the sales tax to raise revenues. In addition, it supports the elimination of the tax on capital as scheduled and favours a reduction in the payroll tax. Moreover, the Board of Trade supports the government's proposal to introduce an investment tax credit. Lastly, with a view to making optimal use and allocation of our resources, the Board of Trade endorses the idea of gradually raising the prices of certain goods and services to market rates.
A summary of the Board of Trade's pre-budget recommendations is available at:
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 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.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015