In the matter of its finances, it is our opinion that the City needs greater room to manuvre based on new sources of revenue, revenue that is diversified, predictable and on-going. This additional income is essential if Montreal is to be able to afford its ambitions, whether this be to invest immediately in its infrastructure; to rehabilitate, develop and properly maintain its city centre; or to carry out certain worthwhile large projects, such as Le Havre de Montréal. This is a crucial issue and it has been at the heart of the Board of Trade's concerns for several years. It is a concern that we will raise once again with senior levels of government when our pre-budget recommendations are made public in the near future, said Benoit Labonté.
In addition, the Board of Trade welcomes the fact that, for the third year in a row, the City is continuing its aid program aimed at softening the shock caused two years ago when the business tax was replaced by a tax on nonresidential property. The Board of Trade has already made it known to the Executive Committee that it hoped that this alleviating measure would be kept in place, and we are happy to report that Mr. Zampino has once again agreed to our request, Mr. Labonté added.
On the other hand, the Board of Trade would like to remind the Tremblay administration that, even though we share its vision that a greater part of the City of Montreal's income must come from economic growth within its own territory, the Board of Trade has stated repeatedly that revenue sources must be diversified within the existing tax base. For this reason, we once again state our firm opposition to any possibility that the City of Montreal take advantage of a decree from the provincial government authorizing an additional tax on parking spaces, both inside and outside. In the view of the Board of Trade, it would be harmful to ask Montrealers to pay such a tax as it would decrease the number of people who come to the city centre and it would be detrimental to the economic vitality of the city, Benoit Labonté stated.
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 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 Quebec's leading private economic development organization.