Small businesses say Montreal's new tax breaks a positive step
Published Friday, November 9, 2018 1:31PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2018 7:57PM EST
Montreal small business owners are pleased with one part of the city’s budget – a tax break.
The city’s 23,000 restaurants and stores will see tax cuts between $800 and $2,000. Though it’s not a game changer, businesses say it sends a positive message.
“Of course it's positive and of course we're happy to save that amount of money, but what's more important is the change of tone,” said Philippe Sarrasin, owner of bookstore La Librairie de Verdun.
Small business owners have long complained that business taxes are too high, and they say they appreciate the message Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is trying to send. They say it shows that she is hearing their concerns.
Mayor Plante visited merchants on Wellington St. in Verdun Friday, where news of the tax break was well received.
“We sent a strong message to Montrealers that we want to support small businesses,” said Plante.
Sarrasin said thriving businesses are vital to the health of the street -- restaurants in particular.
“If we lose all our restaurants this would be a very sad street. I think food now is a big thing… People will come from different parts of town or even from out of town for a specific restaurant. So if the restaurants can only open in the 450 area because the taxes are too high in Montreal, that's bad for us,” he said, adding that it ultimately helps his bottom line.
“If someone goes next door to grab a beer and sees a book in the window, he might come in and buy that book. So we're all linked together.”
Some business owners said they want to see this administration to do more.
“Of the main challenges for us is the lack of parking and the expense of the parking,” said Simon Rosson, the owner of Bagel Etc. on Saint-Laurent Blvd. “I have many customers on the other side of town that will travel all the way just to come see us and now they, ‘You know, we can't get by with all the construction happening downtown.’”
Plante said Montreal’s taxation structure is problematic; 68 per cent of city’s revenues derive from property taxes, and she said that has to change.
She is lobbying for a measure former mayor Denis Coderre often spoke of, which is receiving 1 per cent of the provincial sales tax.
She also said that government buildings, which aren’t required to pay property taxes, should have to pay their share.