Provincial and federal pre-budget consultations:
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
unveils its recommendations
Montreal, January 12, 2004 The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal took advantage of the pre-budget consultation periods to present to the provincial and federal governments the expectations of its some 7,000 members and submit a series of concrete recommendations regarding the decisions that will have to be made for next year.
This year, the Board of Trade's reflection revolved around the need to invest strategically in innovation, productivity and competitiveness in order to allow businesses to maintain their ability to drive the Quebec and Canadian economies and thus help create more wealth for their citizens, stated Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
Concerned about the economic development and competitiveness of the Greater Montreal area, the Board of Trade identified city financing and boosting economic competitiveness as the issues that the two levels of government must address in their next budget.
We would like to stress just how critically important it is for the governments to significantly improve the financing of our large cities. Insofar as the major urban centres are the country's economic engines, it is essential for the different levels of government to recognize their key role in their next budget by implementing, in the short term, new, predictable, recurring and diversified revenue sources, added Mr. Labonté.
Summary of recommendations
Improving city financing
The Board of Trade recommends:
| ||That the governments of Quebec and Canada work closely with municipal representatives to find ways of increasing and diversifying the revenue sources of large cities. The reflection in this regard should begin during this fiscal year and lead to profound, lasting changes in city financing no later than the 2005-2006 budget; |
| ||That the government of Canada share a portion of the gasoline excise tax revenues with the country's large cities; |
| ||That as of the next budget year, the government of Canada exempt municipalities from the GST or fully refund them the tax; |
| ||That the government of Quebec share one percentage point (1/7.5) of QST revenues with the cities of Quebec, without increasing the tax burden of residents; |
| ||That as of the next budget year, the government of Quebec exempt municipalities from QST or fully refund them the tax; |
| ||That the compensation in lieu of taxes paid by the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada and its Crown corporations to the municipalities equal 100% of the local taxes on the property value of all the buildings they own as of the next budget year. |
Enhancing our economic competitiveness
The Board of Trade recommends:
| ||That the governments of Quebec and Canada, in conjunction with municipal administrations, jointly and actively participate in setting up public works, private capital partnerships to finance value-added urban infrastructures; |
| ||That the governments of Canada and Quebec immediately and completely abolish the capital tax, a tax measure considered to be highly detrimental to business productivity, the competitiveness of financial institutions and job creation; |
| ||That the governments of Quebec and Canada set up export support measures such as a government-backed fund devoted exclusively to financing the export projects of low- and medium-technology companies. |
We are well aware that these economic times call for some tough choices. Keeping this in mind, the Board of Trade has made constructive proposals that could boost the economic performance of the Greater Montreal area, and by extension, that of Quebec and Canada, concluded Mr. Labonté.
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 the Greater Montreal region and, as a contributing and responsible player, to promote the economic development of the urban area. Encompassing three specialized services (Info entreprises, the Electronic Commerce Institute and World Trade Centre Montréal) that serve merchants and businesses of all sizes throughout Quebec and Canada, 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
Federal (PDF, 168 Ko) and provincial (PDF, 180 Ko) pre-budget submissions for 2004-2005.