Toronto Board of Trade

Toronto Board of Trade

February 23, 2005 17:09 ET

Federal Budget: "B" For Toronto

Toronto Board of Trade says federal budget is "good, but not great" for Toronto Attention: Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 23, 2005) - The Toronto Board of Trade says today's federal budget contains several provisions that will help the city and business community of Toronto, but fails to tackle the bigger issue of the fiscal imbalance between levels of government.

"We can't give this budget a higher grade than 'B' … it's okay, but not great," said Board President Glen Grunwald.

"We need to have a strong and competitive Toronto, and a strong and competitive Ontario, within a strong and competitive Canada," said Grunwald, "This budget does not offer any long-term plan for balancing the taxation system so that there are enough resources at each level."

Grunwald described the planned funding for cities as only a partial solution, and supported the demands of Toronto Mayor David Miller and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty for additional resources from the federal government, which is enjoying record surpluses.

"There was also plenty of good news in the budget," said Grunwald, "Although, in many cases, it could have been even better." Specifically, he noted:

· The reduction in the corporate tax rate will help business tremendously, while cuts in personal income tax rates will help boost consumer spending.
· More of the gas tax revenues should have been shared sooner than five years, and overall funding under the 'New Deal for Cities' should have been higher and come faster.
· Easing the restrictions on pensions will help Canadians save for their retirements and provide a larger pool of investments in business activity and growth.
· New funding for affordable housing should have been accompanied by a national strategy, and by tax incentives to encourage more private sector investment.
· The Toronto waterfront still needs the hundreds of millions of promised federal dollars, and real authority for the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation.
· New funding for immigrant settlement and training is very welcome, but more should be done to support apprenticeship and skills development among all Canadians.
· Federal airport rents should have been, at least, frozen, if not eliminated entirely.

"Federal spending appears to be growing faster than population growth or inflation, which is worrying," noted Grunwald, "While we agree with many of the investments made, we also believe the federal government must ensure it meets its commitment to continue lowering the debt-to-GDP ratio."

Overall, the Board of Trade President said he was pleased with the direction of the budget, and looked forward to examining the detailed budget documents just released.

/For further information: Glen Stone Media Relations Coordinator (416) 862-4565 IN: ECONOMY, FINANCE, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Glen Stone, Media Relations Coordinator
    Primary Phone: 416-862-4565