City Hall opposition party wants taxes cut for struggling downtown businesses

MONTREAL CITY HALL

The opposition party at City Hall is calling on the Plante administration to put pressure on Quebec to give commercial property owners in downtown Montreal a tax break.

Ensemble Montreal says it wants to help ease the tax burden on businesses who've been suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Party leader Lionel Perez says he intends to table a motion to that effect at the next city council meeting on Sept. 21, insisting the administration has an opportunity to help small business weather the COVID-19 storm, and also to demonstrate that mayor Valerie Plante understands the needs of the business community.

Perez says a tax break would give the city's businesses some breathing room, at least for the next six months.

He points out that Montreal's non-residential and commercial sectors are the highest-taxed in Canada, and not by a little. Montreal businesses, Perez says, pay $38 on every $1,000 their properties are worth — far above the national average of $24.

Perez points out that such a move would be in the mayor's interest — last week, Valerie Plante has urged people to return to their downtown offices.

The mayor's office told La Presse that the notion of cutting taxes "would be studied", without elaboration.

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