The city’s decision to help small business is a step in the right direction the business community said after Montreal’s budget dropped on Thursday.
The budget provides substantial support for local business owners, with the implementation of measures to lower the tax burden by ten per cent, support businesses, and revitalize commercial establishments.
Small business owners say that for years, they’ve had to pay taxes up to triple what residential owners pay.
“We see there are a lot of technical points that are beneficial to small ‘mom and pop’ shops, independent shops,” said Billy Walsh of the Societe de Developpement Commercial Wellington in Verdun.
Business owners affected by road construction also like the budget's compensation measures. Many storefronts have shut down on major arteries, unable to deal with the drop in business.
“That's something unique we demanded, and we think that's a positive and strong gesture,” said Michel Leblanc, of the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.
There is a novelty in this year's budget: for the first time in years, mayors from the demerged cities in the West Island support it.
Mayors have traditionally complained their share of taxes to the central city is too high for services like public security, transport and fire prevention.
This year's increase is only 2 per cent.
“I think we're coming up to a cost-of-living increase. I think it's a goal we can all lead towards, and I think they're achieving that goal this time,” said Montreal West Mayor Beny Masella.
They did say, however, that they're getting their money's worth from Montreal – but acknowledge that it's a beginning.
“Notwithstanding this year's budget, most suburban municipalities will tell you that we're overpaying – way overpaying – for the services we're getting,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.
Imperfections aside, suburban mayors are expected to vote yes on the budget when it's presented at the agglomeration council.