“Boon to Laval’s independent businesses”
By Robert Frank
Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão’s new budget will stoke Laval’s economy by giving a break to the small- and medium-sized businesses here—firms that create the most new jobs, the Liberal government’s cabinet minister for Laval, Francine Charbonneau told The Suburban.
“Laval is exceptional in that so many of its businesses are family-owned,” Charbonneau said during a telephone interview from her Quebec City office. “We were pleased to deliver a balanced budget which will ensure that the people of Laval end up with more money in their own pockets.”
She noted that budget measures designed provide tax relief to the province’s farmers will also end up helping Laval.
“Many people think of Carrefour Laval when they picture this city and don’t realize that my riding of Mille Îles is 30 per cent agricultural,” Charbonneau observed. “Farmers—like the Lacroix and Vaillancourt families [no relation to the eponymous former mayor]—work very hard. We decided that they needed to be included like other businesses in measures that will bring $31 million tax relief by 2020.”
Relief for elderly
Seniors, who form a growing proportion of Laval’s aging population, will also get some breaks.
“We’ve set aside $14.8 million over the next five years to help elderly Laval citizens to pay their municipal taxes,” she said. “It’s healthier for them to remain in their homes and encourages them to remain active within the community.”
Helping golden agers could also spare taxpayers greater expense, by reducing the amount that the province pays for long-term care in institutions.
For those already in institutions, though, the government will spend $76.6 million on fire safety over the next five years.
“It will help senior homes, many of which urgently need to upgrade their fire security systems, to install automatic sprinkler systems,” Charbonneau explained.
Highway 19 gets green light
“There’s also big news for Laval and Bois des Filion commuters, who will be happy to learn that the budget included money to pay for the Highway 19 extension,” she added.
“The disruption to traffic won’t be fun while it’s under construction,” Charbonneau acknowledged, “but at least we have made the commitment and are committed to the project. Once it is complete in 2020, no one will get stuck in traffic any longer.”
“We have to mind every penny,” she concluded. “After six years of budget deficits, Quebec was under pressure. We said that we would clean up public finances and lessen the financial burden on every citizen and business—and we did what we said that we would do.”
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