The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is pleased with the reduction in individuals' tax burden, but what about business competitiveness?
Montreal, March 29, 2001 - "The budget presented today by Quebec Minister of Finance Pauline Marois is an admirable effort to reduce the tax burden of individuals, but at the same time it pays little attention to the major imbalance being created in corporate taxation, a situation that in the medium term will be a competitive disadvantage for enterprises in Metropolitan Montreal." This was the reaction of Guy Fréchette, first vice-president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
"We certainly must congratulate the Minister for planning tax cuts for 2002 in 2001, a move that will likely boost an economy that is increasingly showing signs of faltering. We are also pleased to see that the extra spending will be primarily dedicated to the health and education sectors, but we consider it unfortunate that the increase of over 3% is greater than optimistic GDP growth forecasts. While somewhat timid in relation to the whole, the government's efforts to pay down the debt should be commended."
"The Board of Trade is pleased with the Landry government's initiative to support high-knowledge industries, notably, through measures to promote research and innovation, a strength of the metropolitan economy. But Montreal's diverse economy requires broader intervention."
The absence of strong measures regarding corporate taxation, specifically, in terms of reducing tax on capital and payroll taxes will certainly do nothing to improve corporate competitiveness. Already, the gap between benefit taxation in Quebec and other provinces is narrowing significantly and could soon create a most unfavourable situation.
Lastly, the 2001-2002 Quebec budget represents a more than 6% increase in spending over last year's budget, which rightly prompts us to question the government's ability to fully control its spending and increases in the number of public servants. How long can we as a society sustain such a level of spending and overlook what is happening around us in North America?
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the media and influence towards government and decision-makers.