Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saint John Board of Trade Satisfied with the First Budget of the new Council

The Saint John Board of Trade is surprised that Common Council reduced the tax rate in their first budget since being elected last year. Even with increases in property tax assessments we were concerned that the tax rate would still go up.  We look forward to further tax reductions as a result of the "value for money" audit.

 “We are pleased with Council’s decision to cut the tax rate for the first time in 22 years. This is something that we as an organization have been lobbying for on behalf of our members for many years.  We hope this is the first of many tax rate cuts to make our City more competitive for our businesses and residents” stated Dr. Michael Barry, Chairman of the Board of Trade.   “As an organization dedicated to growing business and opportunity in Greater Saint John, we know that it is the competitiveness of the complete package that sells.  An overall 12% increase in water rates is cause for concern for both businesses and residents in our City.  We look forward to continued efforts by Council to ensure that all of the economic indicators are sending the right signals to attract new business and residents to our City.” Dr. Barry continued.

A survey of the Saint John Board of Trade membership conducted last year found that 50% of members who responded felt that high levels of municipal taxation were a challenge currently facing the business community in the Greater Saint John area. “Lower levels of taxation make our city and our businesses more competitive, not just in Canada but internationally as well” Barry said.

The Board of Trade is also pleased to see money set aside to create a new Municipal Plan, independent advice on the City’s Pension Plan, “Value for Money Audit Program”, and increased funding for Saint John Industrial Parks Ltd.

The Saint John Board of Trade is dedicated to fostering an economic climate that enhances growth, prosperity, and an improved quality of life in the community.  With more than 1,000 members, representing 600 small, medium, and large businesses and organization and therefore, the interests of more than 30,000 citizens, the Board is a dynamic advocate and the principal voice for the business community of Greater Saint John.  It offers a variety of programs, activities, services, and networking opportunities designed to enhance the business prospects of members and the overall business climate of the area.


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