A coalition forms to give Montréal the means of a real metropolis

MONTREAL, Feb. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Coalition pour une véritable métropole, comprised of six associations with a stake in Montréal's economic development, met today in response to the new tax imposed on downtown parking lots and the sharp hike in property taxes announced in the City of Montréal 2010 budget.

"The 2010 municipal budget shows that Montréal's finances are in a vulnerable state. We are concerned about the effect of the new tax imposed on downtown parking. By sharply increasing the tax burden of businesses and residents, this budget is hobbling a still fragile economy," said Jean Laramée, Board chairman of the Institut de développement urbain du Québec (IDU).

"Merchants, restaurant owners, landlords and tenants are the ones who will have to shoulder the added pressure at a time when we are still struggling to emerge from the recession. We need to remember that 35,300 jobs were lost on the island of Montréal last year while 33,400 were created in the rest of the metropolitan area. Against this backdrop, the new parking tax and large hike in property taxes could end up weakening the City's business base," added Jocelyn Lafond, Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Association des propriétaires et des administrateurs d'immeubles du Québec (BOMA Québec).

"All the members of the Coalition naturally have big ambitions for Montréal. We know that if Montréal is to retain its status as a metropolis, we must invest in a key element of its development: the modernization of the transit system, particularly, public transit. But vast amounts of money are needed if we are to succeed. The City of Montréal says it will take more than $8 billion over the next 20 years to finance its transportation plan," continued Lafond.

"To take up these challenges, the City has decided to use the taxation powers granted by the Quebec government. But it seems quite clear to us that these tools are inadequate because they aim the tax hikes squarely at Montréal businesses when the needs, particularly for public transit, are of a metropolitan nature," explained Laramée.

The Coalition feels that the Quebec government must absolutely support Montréal and provide it with revenues that truly reflect its economic impact.

"Greater Montréal drives the Quebec economy, generating 50% of the GDP and jobs in the province, and thereby creating wealth that benefits all Quebecers. To ensure a bright future for Montréal, we must clearly acknowledge its role as a metropolis, along with the associated responsibilities and costs. That's why we're asking the Government of Quebec to consider other ways to support Montréal's development, be it a gradual increase in the gasoline tax, as suggested by the Mayor, allocating a portion of sales tax revenues to the City or raising the vehicle registration fee in the metropolitan area. All these options should be looked at carefully," concluded Laramée.

About the Coalition pour une véritable métropole

Consisting of the Association de l'industrie du stationnement de Montréal (AISM), the Association des propriétaires et des administrateurs d'immeubles du Québec (BOMA Québec), the Association des restaurateurs du Québec (ARQ), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal (the Board of Trade) and the Institut de développement urbain du Québec (IDU), the Coalition pour une véritable métropole has banded together in response to the new parking lot tax presented in the City of Montréal's 2010 budget. The Coalition works to further Montréal's economic development and to encourage the implementation of tax measures conducive to growth.


For further information: For further information: Olivier Fillion Boutin, (514) 282-4863

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