2009 provincial budget: A restraint budget
Montréal, March 19, 2009 Overall, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presents a divided analysis of the budget tabled today by Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget.
The Quebec Government has opted for a cautious, defensive approach. The 2009-2010 budget aims primarily to preserve our assets and prevent our economy from losing too much ground. We welcome the measures designed to meet the needs of companies in terms of seed and venture capital. This will enable Montréal and Quebec to maintain their wealth-creation capacities through the efforts of our innovative firms, declared Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
In the same vein, the budget includes major initiatives that will facilitate access by Quebec companies to financing, one of the major challenges posed by the current crisis. Introducing a revamped stock savings plan with higher deductions for the next two years will have a positive impact on the refinancing of small and medium-sized enterprises, continued Leblanc.
We are very pleased that the government has grasped the urgent need to improve the employability of Quebec workers, one of the concerns raised by the Board of Trade in its pre-budget recommendations. The measures announced in this budget will directly assist those affected by the slowdown to either keep their jobs or rejoin the job market, added Leblanc.
Finally, another significant element of this budget is the presentation of a credible plan for preserving the long-term health of Quebec's public finances. Given the current economic situation, it is justifiable to limit increases to user fees to support demand. But, over the longer term, we must be aware of the rising cost of public services. We support the government's decision to announce the indexing of user fees in 2011, by which time the economy should have begun to grow again, continued Leblanc.
Stimulation: The government should remain vigilant
Our primary reservation with regard to this budget concerns the limited number of strong measures designed to accelerate economic activity. The government is counting on initiatives already announced particularly infrastructure investments to ensure the recovery of Quebec's economy. Considering the size of these planned investments, this would appear to be a safe bet. Yet there is a real risk that the economic crisis could go on longer than predicted by the government or that our economy could deteriorate more quickly than expected. If this should be the case, a restrained approach may not be enough. The government will have to remain extremely vigilant, concluded Leblanc.
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