2006 Budget: Clearly in favour of Montreal
Montreal, March 23, 2006 The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is delighted that Minister Audet's second budget reassigns Montreal a priority role in Quebec's prosperity.
In fact, this budget gives Montreal a very promising opportunity. In light of both the budget's intent and actions, it is clear that the city is now one of the Quebec government's priorities. In this regard, it bears reiterating that Quebec has just one major city and when the government invests in its success, it is not only good for Montrealers but for all Quebecers, stated Isabelle Hudon, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
The Board of Trade commends the investments in infrastructures and the creation of financial incentives to promote public transit use. Public transit contributes to our quality of life, facilitates travel flow and ultimately, boosts the metropolitan region's competitiveness. As such, both the long awaited metro modernization and tax incentives send a message that public transit is an essential part of sustainable urban development in Quebec, continued Isabelle Hudon.
Reducing the corporate tax rate for small and mid-sized businesses will certainly encourage them to re-invest in their success. The $106 million tax cut, combined with the $75 million allocated to support innovation, will give SMEs additional means to boost their competitiveness. These measures are certainly a step in the right direction. The same holds true for the $20 million allocated to support foreign trade, asserted the chief executive.
Given Montreal's apparent "facility" for producing wealth on the Quebec scale, that is - we might be tempted to conclude that Montreal is in need of nothing and that prioritizing the regions is actually the way to go. Unfortunately, when we compare Montreal's performance to that of other cities in North America or elsewhere we are forced to conclude that Quebec does not benefit enough from its metropolis.
In this context, Montreal's development should be a priority for all of Quebec. From Gaspé to Abitibi, the regions should be concerned that Montreal is having trouble keeping up with the competition. As such, this budget seems to mark the beginning of an era in which Quebec expects more from its city. The challenge remains to give it the tools it needs. To this end, a lasting and ambitious fiscal pact between the Quebec government and its city is long overdue, added Isabelle Hudon.
This budget was prepared within a tight fiscal framework. The fact that it recognizes the importance of reducing the debt is of course very promising. As well, the measures it contains are commensurate with our means hence the importance of continuing to focus on creating wealth in Quebec, concluded Isabelle Hudon.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants and 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 the largest private organization in Quebec dedicated to economic development.
Coordinator, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015