Montréal, May 12, 2014 – During prebudget consultations conducted by the Minister of Finance, Carlos Leitão, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal emphasized the urgent need for action to stabilize public finances, create an environment conducive to private investment and strengthen the city’s economy.
“For the business community, achieving a balanced budget on schedule is quite simply indispensable,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “The situation is alarming, because it shows a structural deficit. Quebec’s economy resumed growth more than four years ago, and the government is still trying to balance the budget. Combined with the high level of debt, this makes us very vulnerable to any sharp and unexpected downturn in the economy.”
“We ask the government to act quickly to put in place the commission to review Quebec’s fiscal framework,” Michel Leblanc said. “We have to create tax conditions that will stimulate investment, work and effort. The new framework should prioritize tax tools that are less of a check on economic growth. It should reduce the tax burden that curbs private investment, such as income tax and the payroll tax, and instead increase rates for certain public services, and, if necessary, increase the sales tax.”
“While a review of all spending is necessary, we are calling on the government to maintain strategic programs and initiatives that have a positive impact on private investment and business productivity in the city,” Michel Leblanc said. “It must continue work on and complete strategic infrastructure projects quickly, and make new investments in public transit in the city. It must also increase the availability of human resources for businesses by attracting more immigrants and better integrating them. Finally, it must ensure adequate, stable and predictable funding for the city’s universities.”
“We also need to support entrepreneurship, particularly by changing the fiscal framework, so that the entrepreneurs who are taking over businesses have the same advantages no matter the choice of successor,” Michel Leblanc said. “It is also important to protect our economic flagships and head offices, which are important to the city, by better equipping boards of directors to deal with unsolicited takeover bids, as is the case in other jurisdictions in North America.”
“Finally, we emphasized the importance of strengthening Montréal as the metropolitan centre of Quebec,” Michel Leblanc said. “The current fiscal and structural situation penalizes the city and needs to be corrected. To do this, the government must act quickly to negotiate a new Entente Québec-municipalités and table a bill on supplemental pension plans and a bill that will give Montréal special metropolitan status and new financial leverage.”
In short, the Board of Trade’s recommendations are as follows:
- Achieve a balanced budget by the original timeframe of 2015-2016;
- Ensure competitive taxation that will encourage economic growth and participation in the job market;
- Maintain strategic initiatives that have a direct impact on the competitiveness of our businesses and our economy;
- Strengthen Montréal as Quebec’s largest city.
The Board of Trade’s prebudget recommendations can be consulted here.
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its 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.
Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
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