The Board of Trade congratulates the government on balancing the budget and prioritizing investments in education and key sectors of the city

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Added on 17 March 2016 in Press releases

Montréal, March 17, 2016 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the budget tabled today by Quebec’s Minister of Finance, Carlos Leitão. “This budget echoes the recommendations of the Greater Montréal business community,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “In addition to balancing the budget, the government is focusing on three areas that are essential to our prosperity: talent, innovation and business productivity.”

Return to a surplus situation shows that budgetary restraint has paid off

The budget speech confirmed that the efforts made by all of Quebec society have paid off. The government now has public finances under control and can initiate a strategy to strengthen the Quebec economy. “The business community congratulates the government on staying the course and generating a surplus that can be invested in the Generations Fund,” Michel Leblanc said. “We can now reinvest in our economy and in public services, while most other Canadian provinces and OECD countries are still trying to reduce their spending and rebalance their budgets. This is a tremendous accomplishment and Quebecers can be proud of it.”

A budget that confirms the essential role of education in our prosperity

The Board of Trade is delighted to see that the government is reinvesting in education, in particular by increasing the rate of growth in education spending to 3% over the next three years. “The Board of Trade conveyed the concerns of the business community in asking the government to prioritize financing the education network, from primary to higher education,” Michel Leblanc said. “Today’s budget sends a clear signal that we need to invest in and upgrade infrastructures. In addition to emphasizing the importance of tying university education to the needs of businesses, it is increasing budgets to encourage school retention and improve the performance of our education system. Finally, it will support a strategy to increase the retention rate in Quebec for the thousands of foreign students who attend university in the city. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but a longer term vision is needed to ensure more predictability for schools.”

A budget that strengthens the city’s economy

Given that the budget has just been balanced and therefore we still have limited leeway, the Board of Trade is satisfied with the government’s commitment to support strategic sectors in the city. The budget targets aerospace, life sciences, information technology, the environment and culture, all sectors of the future for the city. “In addition to support for strategic sectors in Greater Montréal, the budget responds to calls from the Board of Trade to stimulate innovative businesses, entrepreneurship and exporting SMEs,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Tax relief and rate cuts for businesses will help increase their competitiveness and better position them on foreign markets. The digital strategy will also strengthen the city’s economic base.”

Taxation that provides a greater incentive to work, but a global reform is still lacking

Today’s budget includes measures that are incentives for work and investment and that will have a positive impact on the business environment and our economy. Increasing the work bonus and the tax shield, as well as reducing payroll taxes will promote participation in the job market and business productivity. “The budget sends a strong signal in favour of participation in the job market,” Michel Leblanc said. “Unfortunately, the government did not act on the main recommendation from the Godbout Report to rebalance the tax system by cutting taxes across the board, which would be offset by increasing the sales tax. Not only is our tax burden among the highest in North America, it is also poorly calibrated in terms of current economic and demographic challenges. The Board of Trade will continue in its efforts to convince the government to apply the recommendations of the Quebec Tax Review Committee.”

 

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration, and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.

 

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Source: 
Guillaume Bérubé
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042
gberube@ccmm.qc.ca

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