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  1. http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/montreal-real-estate-tax-foreign-investors-vancouver-1.3704178 A new tax on foreign buyers in Vancouver has real estate agents predicting a spillover effect into other Canadian markets. But it's unclear if Montreal, often an outlier when it comes to real estate trends, will be among them. "I really don't think this is something that's looming for Montreal," said Martin Desjardins, a local realtor. The market here is "nothing compared to what's happening in Toronto and Vancouver," he said. The new 15 per cent tax, which took effect Tuesday, was introduced by the British Columbia government with the intent of improving home affordability in Metro Vancouver, where house prices are among the highest in North America. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has said he is examining the possibility of a similar tax "very closely," as a measure to address Toronto's skyrocketing home prices. Experts believe the Vancouver tax could exacerbate the booming housing market in Toronto and, potentially, affect other Canadian cities. Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, said some foreign nationals could turn to areas not subject to a tax — either elsewhere in British Columbia or farther afield. "Certainly I think Toronto and potentially other markets like Montreal will start to become more attractive, because comparatively speaking they will be less expensive,'' Henderson said. However, the Montreal market has so far remained off the radar of foreign investors. France, U.S top Montreal foreign buyers the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the number of foreign investors in the Montreal area is small and concentrated in condominiums in the city's downtown. The report found that 1.3 per cent of condominiums in the greater Montreal region were owned by foreigners last year. That number jumps to nearly five per cent in the city's downtown. Residents of the United States and France accounted for the majority of foreign buyers, while China (at eight per cent) and Saudi Arabia (five per cent) accounted for far fewer buyers. Francis Cortellino, the CMHC market analyst who prepared the study, said it's difficult to determine whether the Vancouver tax will change the situation much in Montreal. "We're not sure yet what [buyers] will do," he said. "There are a lot of possibilities." In Montreal, Desjardins said the foreign real estate buyers most often operate on a much smaller scale, often consisting of "mom and pop investors" or people from France looking for a more affordable lifestyle. "I don't think it will ever be to the point where we'll have to put a tax," he said. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. Opinion: The pros and cons of life in Montreal A newcomer finds that compared with Toronto, this city has lower rents, but higher taxes; better cycling lanes, but worse roads By Chris Riddell, Special to The Gazette September 2, 2014 4:42 PM MONTREAL — To an outsider, Montreal might seem like the perfect place to live. It has the lowest rents of all the major cities in Canada, it’s the nation’s epicentre of art and culture, and there are more restaurants and cafés than you can visit in a year. When I moved here from Toronto last year, it was mostly for the lower cost of living, but also for the enriching experience of a new culture so different from my own. In Montreal, I could theoretically have a better quality of life than I did in Hogtown, where the rents are some of the highest in the country. But is living in Montreal really all it’s cracked up to be? I hit the streets, speaking to everyday citizens about why they moved to Montreal, and tried to nail down some of the advantages and disadvantages of living here. What I found was interesting. Jesse Legallais, a 31-year-old musician, moved to Montreal from Toronto 10 years ago and hasn’t looked back. Sitting on a bench outside Café Social on a sunny Friday afternoon, he says: “It’s a bit of a slower pace than some of the other major cities and there is a diverse community here. There are a lot of talented people, so you’re kind of kept on your toes, but you don’t have to constantly scrape for work as hard as, say, New York or Toronto or L.A.” Montreal turned out to be the perfect place to nurture his craft as a musician. The cheaper cost of living was one of the main factors drawing him here, along with the bilingual nature of the city. Some people come to Montreal and find it’s a great place to open a business. Take Andre Levert, for example. Originally from St. Catharines, Ont., he moved to Montreal in 2000. Today, he and his wife own a head shop on Prince Arthur St. E. called Psychonaut. “I found that because commercial space and the cost of living is cheaper in Montreal, for starting a business it was less risk in the beginning,” he says. “I went and checked the rent for stores like mine in Ottawa, and it was way more expensive.” Levert stresses that it really is the people that make the city such a great place to live. Many other aspects of Montreal are lacking: language laws and infrastructure are problems that need to be addressed, and the city has its work cut out for it in those areas. It certainly isn’t all sunshine and roses in Montreal. While there are some great advantages to living here, there are also a number of drawbacks. Here is what I’ve noticed. Pro: Cheap rent. I can definitely say that I am not the only person who moved to Montreal from Toronto at least partly for the cheaper rents. According to Numbeo.com, the average rent in Montreal for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is $877. In Toronto, a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre goes for an average of $1,463. If you came to Montreal more than 10 years ago, you would have paid even less. “After the referendum they were just giving them away here,” says Legallais. “Especially up in this neighbourhood (Mile End) before it became so trendy. You’d get 6½s, first month free, for $400 or $500.” Con: Taxes are higher. Although the cost of living might be lower here, you are also paying some of the highest taxes in the country. In Quebec we pay 16 per cent provincial income tax on amounts up to $41,095. Add that into the federal rate for the same bracket (15 per cent), and you’re losing almost a third of your paycheque in taxes. Sales tax is also high. Here you pay five per cent goods and services tax and also 9.975 per cent provincial sales tax. This, along with the high income tax rate, could be enough to offset any savings you might enjoy from the cheap rents. Pro: Dépanneurs. Since I’m from a province where the sale and distribution of alcohol is extremely regulated, I think the ability to buy beer at my local corner store is amazing. No matter where you are in Montreal, you’re never too far from an ice cold case of Boréale. Some dépanneurs take it a notch higher by adding extras like sushi bars, craft beer rooms and sandwich shops. Con: The SAQ. I have often said that Montreal is a kind of purgatory for scotch or bourbon drinkers. Finding a bottle of Wild Turkey involved looking up online which SAQ store to go to, and then travelling across town to buy it before the store closed at 6 p.m. Ally Baker, an arts student at Concordia, agrees. She hails from Edmonton and has been living in Montreal for 2½ years. “Coming from a province where it’s not government regulated, I find the selection is a lot less, you’re paying a lot more for whatever you’re getting, and you have to travel a lot more to get to different stores. The hours aren’t that great as well,” she says. Pro: Great parks and cycling lanes. In 2013, Copenhagenize rated Montreal the best city in North America for cycling, and it’s no wonder why. The bike-lane network is excellent, and I have been taking a great deal of time this summer to make effective use of it. The separated lanes especially are fun and make you feel safe. Coming from Toronto, a city with a terrible bike network, this is a very attractive feature for an avid cyclist. The parks in this city are second to none. There are tons of green space to spend time in when the weather is nice, and many of the large parks have facilities for just about every sport you can think of. You are also allowed to drink in public (as long as you have some food), so picnicking is always a popular summer activity. There is certainly no shortage of things to keep you busy in Montreal once the weather warms up. But of course that means ... Con: Cold and snowy winters. Montreal is notorious for long, cold, snowy winters. This past winter was especially brutal, and many Montrealers would agree with me. During these cold months, the city is comparatively dead. This doesn’t mean there is nothing to do, however. There are still events like Igloofest, for example, if you know where to look. But if you expect to survive the season, you will need to adapt. “I’m coming from Michigan, so it wasn’t so much of a shock for me,” says Rochie Cohen, a mother of four in the Côte-des-Neiges area. She has been living in Montreal for 12 years. “We just have to leave the house a half an hour earlier. There is a lot of bundling up: coats, scarves, gloves and boots. It takes a lot longer.” Pro: A world-class cultural scene and laid-back attitude. Montreal is a magnet for young artists looking for a place to develop their craft and connect with like-minded people. Numerous artists, writers and musicians of renown were born here. Not only that, the citizenry is much more laid-back than elsewhere in Canada. “My brother asked me, ‘What can you do in Montreal that you can’t do in Ottawa?’ and I told him basically nothing, but everything you do in Montreal is more entertaining,” says Levert. He adds: “You go to a grocery store and shoot a few jokes with the people in line. It’s a joie de vivre that you don’t get anywhere else.” Con: Language barriers. Language issues have been in the spotlight for a long time in Montreal. It’s virtually impossible to get a decent job if you aren’t bilingual, and it can also be isolating for some people. This is true for anglophones who don’t speak French, but it also goes the other way. Aurore Trusewicz is a freelance translator from Belgium. She came to Montreal to attend McGill University in 2007, and French is her first language. “Even though I was attending an English university, I was just listening to English all the time and not really speaking it,” she says. “I was concerned about that because I knew that in Montreal a lot of people speak English, and I was intimidated about how I would speak with (the customers at work).” Although it was intimidating at first, she stuck with it and polished her English skills with diligent practice. The same can be said for learning French. It can be scary to practise speaking it when you aren’t good at it yet. But if you show a genuine effort, you’ll find there are many people out there willing to help. Pro: Affordable public transit. When I moved here, I looked forward to using Montreal’s affordable and extensive transit system. The cost of a monthly pass is much lower than in Toronto, and the métro covers more of the city, so it’s easy to get around. The stations are also designed with better esthetics than the system of my hometown. “The public transportation system is quite nice compared to other places,” says Trusewicz. “Last year I had the chance to go to Miami, and really, you can’t do anything without a car over there. It’s nice to have a métro and buses, even in the middle of the night, to go wherever you want to go.” Con: Traffic and infrastructure problems. This city is disintegrating around us. After riding my bike around these streets, it’s plain to see that some of the roads are in a pitiful condition. After driving here, it’s also plain to see that the design of some of the highways and intersections is very confusing to someone who hasn’t been living here all his life. Combine this with the heavy amounts of roadwork and construction going on, and you’ve got some very bad traffic problems. The roads and sewers have been neglected for years, and now the city has a tremendous amount of work to do with upgrading its ailing infrastructure. City hall is also hard pressed to find the financing to pay for it. It seems this is one problem that Montrealers are going to have to suffer through for years to come. - - - For and against relocating to Montreal The good: Universities have the lowest tuition rates in the country, making Montreal a popular city for students. Residents enjoy the cheapest electricity in Canada, thanks to Hydro-Québec. Daycare is affordable, due to the reduced-contribution spaces for children 5 or younger; parents pay $7 per day. Operational costs for running a business are the lowest in North America, according to a 2013 KPMG survey. Approximately 2,000 hectares of public parks are spread across 17 large parks and 1,160 small neighbourhood parks. The bad: Many people leave Quebec each year for better job prospects in the rest of Canada (28,439 people left from January to September in 2013). Political corruption and allegations of ties to the Mob have besmirched the city’s image. Montreal has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. It seems essential to be bilingual in order to build a life here; that can be hard for newcomers. Part of the city’s water system is well over 100 years old and prone to leaks. Boil-water advisories have been issued in the past. Chris Riddell is a freelance journalist and copywriter who lives in Côte-des-Neiges.
  3. http://www.icisource.ca/commercial_real_estate_news/ When NIMBYism is warranted, and when it isn’t Of course, the question is whether a proposed development, infill project or new infrastructure build really does pose a risk to these cherished things. Developers and urban planners must always be cognizant of the fact that there is a segment of the population, a fringe element, who will object to just about anything “new” as a matter of principle. I’ve been to many open houses and public consultations for one proposed project or another over the years. There is almost always that contingent of dogged objectors who invariably fixate on the same things: Parking – Will there be enough if the development increases the population density of the neighbourhood or draws more shoppers/workers from elsewhere? Traffic – Will streets become unsafe and congested due to more cars on the road? Transit – Will this mean more busses on the road, increasing the safety hazard on residential streets, or conversely will there be a need for more? Shadowing – is the new build going to leave parts of the neighbourhood stuck in the shade of a skyscraper? These are all legitimate concerns, depending on the nature of the project in question. They are also easy targets for the activist obstructionist. Full and honest disclosure is the best defence Why? Because I see, time and again, some developers and urban planners who should know better fail to be prepared for objections rooted on any of these points. With any new development or infrastructure project, there has to be, as a simple matter of sound public policy, studies that examine and seek to mitigate impacts and effects related to parking, traffic, shadowing, transit and other considerations. It therefore only makes sense, during a public consult or open house, to address the most likely opposition head on by presenting the findings and recommendations of these studies up front in a clear and obvious manner. But too often, this isn’t done. I’ve was at an open house a few years ago where, when asked about traffic impact, the developer said there wouldn’t be any. Excuse me? If your project adds even one car to the street, there’s an impact. I expect he meant there would be only minimal impact, but that’s not what he said. The obstructionists had a field day with that – another greedy developer, trying to pull the wool over the eyes of honest residents. This is a marketing exercise – treat it like one This is ultimately a marketing exercise – you have to sell residents on the value and need of the development. Take another example – a retirement residence. With an aging population, we are obviously going to need more assisted living facilities in the years to come. But in this case, the developer, speaking to an audience full of grey hairs, didn’t even make the point that the new residence would give people a quality assisted-living option, without having to leave their community, when they were no longer able to live on their own. I also hear people who object to infill projects because they think their tax dollars have paid for infrastructure that a developer is now going to take advantage of – they think the developer is somehow getting a free ride. And yet, that developer must pay development charges to the city to proceed with construction. The new build will also pay its full utility costs and property taxes like the rest of the street. City hall gets more revenue for infrastructure that has already been paid for, and these additional development charges fund municipal projects throughout the city. Another point, often overlooked – when you take an underperforming property and redevelop it, its assessed value goes up, and its tax bill goes up. The local assessment base has just grown. City hall isn’t in the business of making a profit, just collecting enough property tax to cover the bills. The more properties there are in your neighbourhood, the further that tax burden is spread. In other words, that infill project will give everyone else a marginal reduction on their tax bill. It likely isn’t much, but still, it’s something. Developers must use the facts to defuse criticism Bottom line, development is necessary and good most of the time. If we didn’t have good regulated development, we would be living in horrid medieval conditions. Over the last century and a bit, ever growing regulation have given us safer communities, with more reliable utilities and key services such as policing and fire. Yes, there are examples of bad development, but if we had none, as some people seem to want, no one would have a decent place to live. It just astonishes me that developers and urban planners don’t make better use of the facts available to them to defuse criticism. It’s so easy to do it in the right way. Proper preparation for new development public information sessions is the proponent’s one opportunity to tell their story, and should not be wasted by failing to get the facts out and explaining why a project is a good idea. To discuss this or any other valuation topic in the context of your property, please contact me at jclark@regionalgroup.com. I am also interested in your feedback and suggestions for future articles. The post Why do public planning projects go off the rails? appeared first on Real Estate News Exchange (RENX). sent via Tapatalk
  4. Canada ranks 2nd among 10 countries for cost competitiveness, says KPMG THE CANADIAN PRESS 03.29.2016 TORONTO - Accounting giant KPMG says Canada has proven to be second most competitive market in a comparison test of 10 leading industrial countries. In its report, KPMG says Canada lags only behind Mexico when it comes to how little businesses have to pay for labour, facilities, transportation and taxes. The report, which compared the competitiveness of a number of western countries along with Australia and Japan, found that a high U.S. dollar has helped Canada stay affordable despite rising office real estate costs and lower federal tax credits. When it comes to corporate income taxes, it found that Canada, the U.K. and the Netherlands had the lowest rates overall due to tax incentives to support high-tech and research and development. KPMG also looked at the competitiveness of more than 100 cities worldwide. It ranked Fredericton, N.B., as the most cost-effective city in Canada due to low labour costs and continued low costs for property leases. Montreal topped the list among 34 major cities in North America, followed by Toronto and Vancouver. The three Canadian cities beat out all U.S. cities. Although there have been concerns over the impact of a weakening loonie on the economy, having a low Canadian dollar has actually been "a driver in improving Canada's competitiveness and overall cost advantage," KPMG said. As a result, that has made it more attractive for businesses to set up shop north of the border than in the U.S., it said. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/canada+ranks+among+countries+cost+competitiveness+says+kpmg/11817781/story.html
  5. Welcome to the province of tax tax tax. Now we're poorer and can't keep up with the cost of living. So much for le modele Quebecois. We need to make some adjustments to improve our collective wealth http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebecers-high-taxes-take-toll-on-buying-power "Despite a slight increase in disposable income, Quebecers have not been keeping up with cost-of-living increases, giving residents of la belle province the second lowest buying power of any province in the country, according to l’Institut de la statistique du Québec. Only Prince Edward Island has less buying power. According to the latest figures, disposable income in Quebec increased 0.9 per cent in 2013. At the same time, the consumer price index grew by 1.2 per cent. Therefore, real disposable income per resident declined by 1.2 per cent— the first time this figure has gone down since 1996. The reasons for the reduction in buying power are taxes and contributions to social programs, the institute says. With an average disposable income of $26,774, Quebec ranked second to last in 2013. Disposable income in P.E.I. was $26,439 per resident. The Canadian average is $30,746."
  6. http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebec-is-slowing-spending-but-its-a-far-cry-from-european-style-austerity "Unfortunately, the private sector hasn’t kept the rendezvous. Stéfane Marion, chief economist at the National Bank, notes that net private-sector employment has fallen by 30,000 in the province so far this year while Ontario has added 80,000 such jobs. Marion points to lingering fallout over the bitter charter of values debate under the preceding Parti Québécois government. Quebec lost a net 10,000 people last spring to interprovincial migration — the worst outflows since 1995-96. That didn’t help the job market." On the plus side, the economy does seem to be improving and stimulus is coming from other sources. Exports to the U.S. and Ontario are growing at a healthy clip, the cheaper Canadian dollar is a boost to manufacturers and lower oil prices are an added bonus to both businesses and consumers. Marion figures that Quebecers have received a $300-million break at the gas pump so far this year as prices have declined. That will ease the pain from an expected two-cents-per-litre jump in gas prices in the New Year to cover the cost to distributors of Quebec’s new cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. And if you can believe Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, the pain is about to end for taxpayers who are tired of paying more and receiving less. Most of the measures needed to go from the current-year deficit of $2.3 billion to a balanced budget have already been identified, he said. Another $1.1 billion will still have to be found in the budget next spring. It’s about time, says Norma Kozhaya, chief economist at the Conseil du patronat du Québec which represents the province’s largest employers. Quebec has reached the limit on what it can absorb in the way of further tax increases and spending cuts, she argued. Kozhaya is worried about slow growth in the economy, pegged at 1.6 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2015. “What’s important is to get more revenue from economic growth and not from new taxes and fees.” She would like to hear more of a pro-investment discourse from the Couillard government, especially when it comes to natural resources. In the meantime, there’s always 2017-18 to look forward to. That’s when Leitão talks boldly of a surplus and maybe even a tax cut — in what will be an election year.
  7. We Win We Win!! #1! It can never be said enough, apparently: Quebecers continue to pay some of the highest taxes in North America, according to a new study released today by Canadian public-policy think-tank the Fraser Institute. The study, Quebec’s Tax Competitiveness: A Barrier to Prosperity, compares Quebec’s personal, corporate, and payroll tax rates to other Canadian provinces and American states in 2014, and examines the effect on Quebec’s economic performance over the past 10 years. “Across the income scale, Quebecers pay more in taxes than virtually anyone else in Canada and the United States,” said Sean Speer, study co-author and associate director of the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Fiscal Studies. For example, Quebecers making $50,000 a year pay 16.37 per cent in provincial income taxes, the highest rate among all Canadian provinces and U.S. states, while Quebecers making $150,000 pay 20.97 per cent, the second highest rate for that income category. Quebec also has a higher corporate tax rate (11.9 per cent) than Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Quebec’s lack of tax competitiveness, particularly for individuals, has contributed to a relatively poor economic performance over the past decade, the study says. When taxes are high, individuals save less money, fewer new businesses spring up, and established businesses hire less people and curb their investments, the study says. “There’s no doubt taxes play a vital role in society, but to improve Quebec’s economic prospects and competitiveness in North America, Quebecers and the Quebec businesses need a lighter tax burden,” Speer said. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  8. Article intéressant... IMF debunks myth: Taxing rich not bad for economy OTTAWA -- A new paper by researchers at the International Monetary Fund appears to debunk a tenet of conservative economic ideology -- that taxing the rich to give to the poor is bad for the economy. The paper by IMF researchers Jonathan Ostry, Andrew Berg and Charalambos Tsangarides will be applauded by politicians and economists who regard high levels of income inequality as not only a moral stain on society but also economically unsound. Labelled as the first study to incorporate recently compiled figures comparing pre- and post-tax data from a large number of countries, the authors say there is convincing evidence that lower net inequality is good economics, boosting growth and leading to longer-lasting periods of expansion. In the most controversial finding, the study concludes that redistributing wealth, largely through taxation, does not significantly impact growth unless the intervention is extreme. In fact, because redistributing wealth through taxation has the positive impact of reducing inequality, the overall affect on the economy is to boost growth, the researchers conclude. "We find that higher inequality seems to lower growth. Redistribution, in contrast, has a tiny and statistically insignificant (slightly negative) effect," the paper states. "This implies that, rather than a trade-off, the average result across the sample is a win-win situation, in which redistribution has an overall pro-growth effect." While the paper is heavy on the economics, there is no mistaking the political implications in the findings. In Canada, the Liberal party led by Justin Trudeau is set to make supporting the middle class a key plank in the upcoming election and the NDP has also stressed the importance of tackling income inequality. Stephen Harper's Conservatives have boasted that tax cuts, particularly deep reductions in corporate taxation, are at least partly responsible for why the Canadian economy outperformed other G7 countries both during and after the 2008-09 recession. In the Commons on Tuesday, Employment Minister Jason Kenney said the many tax cuts his government has introduced since 2006, including a two-percentage-point trim of the GST, has helped most Canadians. Speaking on a Statistics Canada report showing net median family wealth had increased by 44.5 per cent since 2005, he added: "It is no coincidence because, with the more than 160 tax cuts by this government, Canadian families, on average, have seen their after-tax disposable income increase by 10 per cent across all income categories. We are continuing to lead the world on economic growth and opportunity for working families." The authors concede that their conclusions tend to contradict some well-accepted orthodoxy, which holds that taxation is a job killer. But they say that many previous studies failed to make a distinction between pre-tax inequality and post-tax inequality, hence often compared apples to oranges, among other shortcomings. The data they looked at showed almost no negative impact from redistribution policies and that economies where incomes are more equally distributed tend to grow faster and have growth cycles that last longer. Meanwhile, they say the data is not crystal clear that even large redistributions have a direct negative impact, although "from history and first principles ... after some point redistribution will be destructive of growth." Still, they also stop short of saying their conclusions definitively settle the issue, acknowledging that it is a complex area of economic theory with many variables at play and a scarcity of hard data. Instead, they urge more rigorous study and say their findings "highlight the urgency of this agenda." The Washington-based institution released the study Wednesday morning but, perhaps due to the controversial nature of the conclusions, calls it a "staff discussion note" that does "not necessarily" represent the IMF views or policy. It was authorized for distribution by Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist. Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/imf-debunks-myth-taxing-rich-not-bad-for-economy-1.1704643#ixzz2uRo5ElZH
  9. Montreal to New York (Fees/Taxes) $12.10 CAD ATSC $7.50 CAD NAV and Surcharges $25.00 CAD Airport Improvement Fee $5.11 CAD US Agriculture Tax $7.15 CAD US Immigration Tax $16.45 CAD US transportation Tax $8.28 CAD GST $1.97 CAD QST $83.56 CAD Total Tax & Fees New York to Montreal (Fees/Taxes) $7.50 CAD NAV and Surcharges $4.60 CAD Passenger Facility Charge $2.55 CAD Sep 11th US Security Tax $16.45 CAD US transportation Tax $6.43 CAD GST $37.53 CAD Total Tax & Fees Its crazy that its an extra $46.03 to fly into the US. All info is from Porter Airline.
  10. having recently walked through griffintown from downtown towards verdun i found that while the area is filled with many condo projects most of them look they have been there for quite a while and they all seem to be waiting after one another to 'pop' from the ground ... in the meantime the place still looks awfully desolate and abandoned and you have to think that this has an effect on the health of those projects - it's not like the city lacks any plans for griffintown but don't you think they should be more proactive about it and inject some fund in the neighborhood to help spur the growth of all these residential towers instead of waiting for them to actually get built before they do anything ? chicken and the egg kinda situation now it seems but imo the city should be the first to do actually do something and not the private developers .. after all all these years down the road its the city that will still be collecting tax funds if anything gets built - not the initial investors
  11. MONTREAL - When James Essaris looks out over his flat concrete kingdom of 20 downtown parking lots that he started collecting in 1956, he sees a precious urban resource where others see ugliness. The much-maligned parking lot, long considered an urban eyesore and enemy of public transit, is becoming an increasingly rare feature on the downtown streetscape. Essaris, longtime owner of Stationnement Métropolitain, sees his barren concrete as more than just a chance for him to pocket some cash on the barrelhead: he believes in the good that parking lots do and considers the spaces to be the lungs of downtown commerce. “The City of Montreal should give free parking to come downtown. We’re chasing people out to the shopping centres,” he said. The new parking lot tax was adopted in 2010 and brings in $19 million a year to fund public transit. The tax is determined by a complicated formula that Essaris says in practice makes city taxes about twice as expensive on a surface lot as it would for another type of structure. The city held public hearings on the issue this spring and response to the surface parking eradication campaign — through the new parking tax and allowing larger-scale buildings on the empty lots — was greeted positively, according to City of Montreal Executive Committee member Alan DeSousa. “It brings more money into the city coffers and removes the scars in the downtown area,” he said. He said that some of lost parking spaces have been replaced by indoor parking in the various projects. But after seeing his taxes double in recent years, Essaris is now doing what many other parking-lot owners have done: He has started sacrificing his supply of parking spaces for housing, most recently building a 38-storey Icône condo tower at de la Montagne St. and René Lévesque Blvd. He has some misgivings, however, knowing that those spots will be sorely missed. “We cannot survive without parking in the city. I wish everybody could take the bus and métro, it’d make things easier, but you cannot force people onto the métro when they have a car,” he said. Urban retailers have long begged their merchants associations to create more places to park, perhaps no more than on the Main where about half of all members regularly plead for more parking, according to Bruno Ricciardi-Rigault, president of the SDBSL. “It would be really nice if we had a few more parking lots,” he said. However, the dearth of spaces is only going to intensify as the few remaining parking lots near St. Laurent Blvd. are slated to be redeveloped. Ricciardi-Rigault is bracing for more complaints from restauranteurs who have lost customers because their motorist clientele was fed up with circling the block. “Some people want to spend the whole afternoon, shop, go to Jeanne Mance Park, come back for a beer. Paying $20 to park on the street, that‘s asking a lot,” he said. Condo towers have been replacing lots in the downtown core at an impressive pace and the result is higher prices at indoor garages, reflected in a recent Colliers study that ranks Montreal as having the second-highest parking prices of any big Canadian city. Rates have risen an eye-opening 11 per cent since last year, as the average monthly price for an unreserved spot in a downtown underground commercial lot was $330.96 — $88 above the national average. The proliferation of private parking lots once inspired many to liken Montreal to a bombed-out city, but that is no longer the case. “We were spoiled by having tons of parking lots, now Montrealers will have to get used to much higher parking costs,” said Colliers representative Andrew Maravita. He credits a lower commercial vacancy rate for pushing prices higher. Up until the 1960s, Montreal tacitly allowed even historic buildings to be demolished and replaced by parking lots and until recently turned a blind eye to the countless rogue illegal lots that dotted the downtown core. For ages, Montreal surface parking lots were fly-by-night operations, changing ownership to avoid bylaw restrictions ordering them to be paved, landscaped. The city always said they couldn’t chase every owner down. But in recent years, authorities have increased taxes and cracked down on illegal lots, combining the stick of punishment with the carrot of juicy rezoning booty. In the past, many property owners failed to see the point of building on their parking lots, as the zoning frequently only allowed for small buildings. Those restrictions have been lifted on many of those properties, resulting in a bonanza for parking-lot owners whose land increased in value. The strategy was put into place with input from architect and former Equality Party leader Robert Libman, who previously served on the city’s Executive Committee. “A lot of projects going on now, on streets like Crescent and Bishop and that area, were previously zoned for two or three storeys. The urban plan capped those at a minimal height. The rezoning has made it more alluring for owners to build instead of leaving it vacant,” he says. Libman’s war against above-ground parking lots is personal. “They’re ugly and they undermine the downtown urban fabric,” Libman said. But he concedes that commerce relies on people being able to drive to a business. “You’ve got to find that careful balance between offering too much parking, making it too easy vs. your objective of discouraging people to take their car downtown and using public transit, that’s the fine line you have to find between the two,” he said. Developers are required to include parking in new projects, but the amount varies from place to place. In Laval, many projects are required to have two parking spaces per condo unit, while in the Plateau it’s close to zero spaces, although a typical recipe calls for one spot per two units. The one part of the city perhaps most challenged by a dearth of parking facilities is the booming Old Montreal area. The issue has long been considered such an urgent problem that one proposal from a decade ago even suggested that the massive silos in the Old Port be used to park cars. More recently, Old Montreal planners have installed an electronic billboard indicating where spaces could be found, but the pressure on parking endures, according to Georges Coulombe, whose real-estate company has been snapping up properties in the area for the last four decades. Coulombe concedes that area commerce has been hurt by a lack of space for cars. “People from places like Longueuil want to come shop on the weekend, but they can’t do it anymore, it’s too expensive to park, they end up going to malls closer to home.” He attempted to address the problem through a plan to build a high-tech robotic parking facility that could accommodate twice as many cars as a regular indoor lot. However, he did the math and found that it wouldn’t make sense because of city taxes. “I had a small 3,000-foot terrain that I would have turned into 300 spaces, but the city wanted to tax not just the building but the machinery inside. It made it impossible.” Much-hyped futuristic robotic parking systems are seen by some as a potential solution to parking woes and have actually been around for quite some time. The city has had at least three pigeon-hole parking systems as the earlier incarnations were known; one was opened on de la Montagne St. in the 1950s and another on Mansfield, where a worker was crushed by an elevator. A third more recent one was in operation at St. Jean and Notre Dame until a decade ago. Authorities frequently cite the fear of being unable to put out a car blaze in their opposition to such facilities. And although a few such high-tech robotic lots could elegantly alleviate parking pressures, one expert says that the standalone dedicated parking buildings will probably never get built. Chris Mulvihill, the New Jersey-based President of Boomerang Systems, a high-tech car-stacking parking lot system, notes that any landowner would most probably opt for a different sort of project. “Take any place where it’s very hard to get a parking spot,” Mulvihill says. “You’d think building a garage and charging for parking would be a good business model, but the economics dictate that if there’s a high demand for parking in that area, it’s because it’s a hot, happening place, so there are real-estate developers who want to build on that land. The demand makes it uber-expensive. A landowner could make a lot more money doing something other than parking on it.” © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Parking+squeeze+Downtown+businesses+feeling/7453989/story.html#ixzz2ASqBCwJE
  12. Read more: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/disturbing-video-of-er-doctor-arrested-by-sq-while-working-1.1012910#ixzz2AT5149cw In all honest. Why is my tax dollars paying for these guys to "protect and serve". I want them fired or give me my money back. We the people of Quebec are the shareholders. The politicians and the people they hire, should be accountable to us and if we want someones head, we should get it.
  13. jesseps

    Electronics / Green tax

    Read more: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/new-green-tax-to-make-electronics-more-expensive-1.957018#ixzz26druCxzC Things just got more expensive again in this province I wonder what else is left for Quebec to tax us on? Quebec could make life harder for consumers buying stuff at Zara, H&M and others, by having a tax on clothes made in China, Bangladesh and other countries.
  14. Je sais que Chicago et Montréal sont des villes différentes, et on peut nommées ces différences. Chicago, elle aussi... est une des plus grandes villes dans son pays. vit avec la corruption dans le présent et a vécu la dominance de la mafia dans le passé. on des élus qui sont allés en prison ou q'iraient. appartient à une structure métropolitaine trop bureaucratique. était plus une ville nationale dans son passé mais à progressivement devenu plus régionale. est renommée pour son architecture. essaye de convaincre des grandes conférences internationales de choisir leur ville pour montrer quelle est encore «dans le game.» n'est pas une ville où les gens faut s'installer selon leur profession comme New York ou Los Angeles. fait du rattrapage vis-à-vis ses concurrents, dont New York et Los Angeles. Maintenant je vais prendre le rôle de Simon Durivage (ou Peter Mansbridge, selon vos goûts): Est-ce qu'il y a des leçons pour Montréal, en ce qui concerne la corruption, la bureaucratie et la perte du statut national (Canada)? La raison pour laquelle je pose cette question ce que Chicago est une ville dynamique avec quelques de les mêmes problèmes que Montréal. En ce qui concerne nos problèmes, je trouve qu'on a plus de liens avec Chicago qu'avec Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary. The Second-Rate City? http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_chicago.html Chicago’s swift, surprising decline presents formidable challenges for new mayor Rahm Emanuel. In the 1990s, Chicago enthusiastically joined the urban renaissance that swept through many of America’s major cities. Emerging from the squalor and decay of the seventies and eighties, Chicago grew for the first time since 1950—by more than 100,000 people over the decade. The unemployment rate in the nation’s third-biggest city was lower than in its two larger rivals, and per-capita income growth was higher. Chicago’s metropolitan area racked up 560,000 new jobs, more than either New York’s or Los Angeles’s in raw numbers and over twice as many on a percentage basis. A rising Chicago spent lavishly to improve itself, investing in a new elevated line to Midway Airport, a major street-beautification program, and new cultural facilities costing hundreds of millions of dollars. The capstone was Millennium Park, a $450 million showplace featuring work by such celebrities as architect Frank Gehry and sculptor Anish Kapoor. The idea was to portray Chicago as a “global city,” and it was successful, to judge from the responses in the national media. As Millennium Park opened (a few years late) in the mid-2000s, The Economist celebrated Chicago as “a city buzzing with life, humming with prosperity, sparkling with new buildings, new sculptures, new parks, and generally exuding vitality.” The Washington Post dubbed Chicago “the Milan of the Midwest.” Newsweek added, “From a music scene powered by the underground footwork energy of juke to adventurous three-star restaurants, high-stepping fashion, and hot artists, Chicago is not only ‘the city that works,’ in Mayor Daley’s slogan, but also an exciting, excited city in which all these glittery worlds shine.” But despite the chorus of praise, it’s becoming evident that the city took a serious turn for the worse during the first decade of the new century. The gleaming towers, swank restaurants, and smart shops remain, but Chicago is experiencing a steep decline quite different from that of many other large cities. It is a deeply troubled place, one increasingly falling behind its large urban brethren and presenting a host of challenges for new mayor Rahm Emanuel. Begin with Chicago’s population decline during the 2000s, an exodus of more than 200,000 people that wiped out the previous decade’s gains. Of the 15 largest cities in the United States in 2010, Chicago was the only one that lost population; indeed, it suffered the second-highest total loss of any city, sandwiched between first-place Detroit and third-place, hurricane-wrecked New Orleans. While New York’s and L.A.’s populations clocked in at record highs in 2010, Chicago’s dropped to a level not seen since 1910. Chicago is also being “Europeanized,” with poorer minorities leaving the center of the city and forced to its inner suburbs: 175,000 of those 200,000 lost people were black. The demographic disaster extends beyond city limits. Cook County as a whole lost population during the 2000s; among America’s 15 largest counties, the only other one to lose population was Detroit’s Wayne County. The larger Chicago metropolitan area grew just 4 percent—less than half the national average. What little growth Chicagoland had, then, was concentrated in its exurban fringes, belying the popular narrative of a return to the city. And even that meager growth resulted almost entirely from new births and immigrants, rather than domestic migration: over the decade, the Chicago metro area suffered a net loss of more than 550,000 people to other parts of the country. Chicago’s economy also performed poorly during the first decade of the century. That was a tough decade all over the United States, of course, but the Chicago region lost 7.1 percent of its jobs—the worst performance of any of the country’s ten largest metro areas. Chicago’s vaunted Loop, the second-largest central business district in the nation, did even worse, losing 18.6 percent of its private-sector jobs, according to the Chicago Loop Alliance. Per-capita GDP grew faster in New York and L.A. than in Chicago; today, Chicago’s real per-capita GDP ranks eighth out of the country’s ten largest metros. Fiscal problems are commonplace these days among local governments, but Chicago’s are particularly grim and far predate the Great Recession. Cook County treasurer Maria Pappas estimates that within the city of Chicago, there’s a stunning $63,525 in total local government liabilities per household. Not all of this is city debt; the region’s byzantine political structure includes many layers of government, including hundreds of local taxing districts. But pensions for city workers alone are $12 billion underfunded. If benefits aren’t reduced, the city will have to increase its contributions to the pension fund by $710 million a year for the next 50 years, according to the Civic Federation. Chicago’s annual budget, too, has been structurally out of balance, running an annual deficit of about $650 million in recent years. As dire as Chicago’s finances are, those of Illinois are in even worse shape. The primary cause, once again, is pensions, which are underfunded to the tune of $83 billion. Retirees’ future health care is underfunded an additional $43 billion. There’s a lot of regular debt, too—about $44 billion of it. And Illinois, like Chicago, has run large deficits for some time. Despite raising the individual income tax 66 percent and the corporate tax 46 percent in 2011, the state is projected to end the current fiscal year with an accumulated deficit of $5.2 billion. While California has made headlines by issuing IOUs to companies to which it owes money, Illinois has taken an easier route: it just stopped paying its bills, at one point last year racking up 208,000 of them, totaling $4.5 billion. Some businesses have gone unpaid for nine months or even longer. Unsurprisingly, Illinois has the worst credit rating of any state. Unable to pay its bills, it is de facto bankrupt. What accounts for Chicago’s miserable performance in the 2000s? The fiscal mess is the easiest part to account for: it is the result of poor leadership and powerful interest groups that benefit from the status quo. Public-union clout is literally written into the state constitution, which prohibits the diminution of state employees’ retirement benefits. Tales of abuse abound, such as the recent story of two lobbyists for a local teachers’ union who, though they had never held government jobs, obtained full government pensions by doing a single day of substitute teaching apiece. If the state and city had honestly funded the obligations they were taking on, their generosity to their workers would be less of a problem. But they didn’t. As City Journal senior editor Steven Malanga has written for RealClearMarkets, Illinois “essentially wanted to be a low-tax (or at least a moderate-tax) state with high services and rich employee pensions.” That’s an obviously unsustainable policy formula. The state has also employed a series of gimmicks to cover up persistent deficits—for example, using borrowed money to shore up its pension system and even to pay for current operations. At the city level, Mayor Richard M. Daley papered over deficits with such tricks as a now-infamous parking-meter lease. The city sold the right to parking revenues for 75 years to get $1.1 billion up front. Just two years into the deal, all but $180 million had been spent. The debt and obligations begin to explain why jobs are leaving Chicago. It isn’t a matter, as in many cities, of high taxes driving away businesses and residents. Though Chicago has the nation’s highest sales tax, Illinois isn’t a high-tax state; it scores 28th in the Tax Foundation’s ranking of the best state tax climates. But the sheer scale of the state’s debts means that last year’s income-tax hikes are probably just a taste of what’s to come. (Cutting costs is another option, but that may be tricky, since Illinois is surprisingly lean in some areas already; it has the lowest number of state government employees per capita of any state, for example.) The expectation of higher future taxes has cast a cloud over the state’s business climate and contributed to the bleak economic numbers. But that isn’t the whole story. Many of Chicago’s woes derive from the way it has thrown itself into being a “global city” and the uncomfortable fact that its enthusiasm may be delusional. Most true global cities are a dominant location of a major industry: finance in New York, entertainment in Los Angeles, government in Washington, and so on. That position lets them harvest outsize tax revenues that can be fed back into sustaining the region. Thus New York uses Wall Street money, perhaps to too great an extent, to pay its bills (see “Wall Street Isn’t Enough,” page 12). Chicago, however, isn’t the epicenter of any important macro-industry, so it lacks this wealth-generation engine. It has some specialties, such as financial derivatives and the design of supertall skyscrapers, but they’re too small to drive the city. The lack of a calling-card industry that can generate huge returns is perhaps one reason Chicago’s per-capita GDP is so low. It also means that there aren’t many people who have to be in Chicago to do business. Plenty of financiers have to settle in New York, lots of software engineers must move to Silicon Valley, but few people will pay any price or bear any burden for the privilege of doing business in Chicago. Chicago’s history militates against its transforming itself into a global city on the scale of New York, London, or Hong Kong. Yes, its wealth was built by dominating America’s agro-industrial complex—leading the way in such industries as railroads, meatpacking, lumber processing, and grain processing—but that is long gone, and the high-end services jobs that remain to support those sectors aren’t a replacement. Chicago as a whole is less a global city than the unofficial capital of the Midwest, and its economy may still be more tied to that troubled region than it would like to admit. Like the Midwest generally, parts of Chicago suffer from a legacy of deindustrialization: blighted neighborhoods, few jobs, a lack of investment, and persistent poverty. Chicago is also the “business service center of the Midwest, serving regional markets and industries,” Chicago Fed economist Bill Testa wrote in 2007; as a result, “Chicago companies’ prospects for growth are somewhat limited.” It’s easy to understand why being a global city is the focus of civic leadership. Who wouldn’t want the cachet of being a “command node” of the global economy, as urbanists put it? It’s difficult, too, to think of a different template for Chicago to follow; its structural costs are too high for it easily to emulate Texas cities and become a low-cost location. But just because the challenge is stiff doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be tackled. Chicago isn’t even trying; rather, it’s doubling down on the global-city square. Senator Mark Kirk wants to make O’Hare the most “Asia-friendly” airport in America and lure flights to central China, for example. A prominent civic leader suggests that the city should avoid branding itself as part of the Midwest. One of Mayor Emanuel’s signature moves to date has been luring the NATO summit to Chicago. Another reason for Chicago’s troubles is that its business climate is terrible, especially for small firms. When the state pushed through the recent tax increases, certain big businesses had the clout to negotiate better deals for themselves. For example, the financial exchanges threatened to leave town until the state legislature gave them a special tax break, with an extension of a tax break for Sears thrown in for good measure. And so the deck seems to be stacked against the little guys, who get stuck with the bill while the big boys are plied with favors and subsidies. It also hurts small businesses that Chicago operates under a system called “aldermanic privilege.” Matters handled administratively in many cities require a special ordinance in Chicago, and ordinances affecting a specific council district—called a “ward” in Chicago—can’t be passed unless the city council member for that ward, its “alderman,” signs off. One downside of the system is that, as the Chicago Reader reported, over 95 percent of city council legislation is consumed by “ward housekeeping” tasks. More important is that it hands the 50 aldermen nearly dictatorial control over what happens in their wards, from zoning changes to sidewalk café permits. This dumps political risk onto the shoulders of every would-be entrepreneur, who knows that he must stay on the alderman’s good side to be in business. It’s also a recipe for sleaze: 31 aldermen have been convicted of corruption since 1970. Red tape is another problem for small businesses. Outrages are legion. Scooter’s Frozen Custard was cited by the city for illegally providing outdoor chairs for customers—after being told by the local alderman that it didn’t need a permit. Logan Square Kitchen, a licensed and inspected shared-kitchen operation for upscale food entrepreneurs, has had to clear numerous regulatory hurdles: each of the companies using its kitchen space had to get and pay for a separate license and reinspection, for example, and after the city retroactively classified the kitchen as a banquet hall, its application for various other licenses was rejected until it provided parking spaces. An entrepreneur who wanted to open a children’s playroom to serve families visiting Northwestern Memorial Hospital was told that he needed to get a Public Place of Amusement license—which he couldn’t get, it turned out, because the proposed playroom was too close to a hospital! And these are exactly the kind of hip, high-end businesses that the city claims to want. Who else stands a chance if even they get caught in a regulatory quagmire? As Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Roper has noted, “unnecessary and burdensome regulation” puts Chicago “at a competitive disadvantage with other cities.” Companies also fear Cook County’s litigation environment, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called the most unfair and unreasonable in the country. It’s not hard to figure out why Chief Executive ranked Illinois 48th on its list of best states in which to do business. Chicago’s notorious corruption interferes with attempts to fix things. Since 1970, 340 officials in Chicago and Cook County have been convicted of corruption. So have three governors. The corruption has been bipartisan: both Governor George Ryan, a Republican, and Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, are currently in federal prison. A recent study named Chicago the most corrupt city in the United States. But an even greater problem than outright corruption is Chicago’s culture of clout, a system of personal loyalty and influence radiating from city hall. Influencing the mayor, and influencing the influencers on down the line, is how you get things done. There is only one power structure in the city—including not just politicians but the business and social elite and their hangers-on—and it brings to mind the court of Louis XIV: when conflicts do arise, they are palace intrigues. One’s standing is generally not, as in most cities, the result of having an independent power base that others must respect; it is the result of personal favor from on high. One drawback with this system is that it practically demands what columnist Greg Hinz calls a “Big Daddy”–style leader to sustain itself. Another is that fear of being kicked out of the circle looms large in the minds of important Chicagoans. Beginning in 2007, Mayor Daley launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics. Later, commentator Ramsin Canon observed that Daley “was able to get everybody that mattered—everybody—on board behind the push. . . . Nobody, from the largest, most conservative institutions to the most active progressive advocacy group, was willing to step out against him.” These organizations have good reason to fear reprisal for not toeing the line. When Daley signed his disastrous parking-meter deal, an advocacy group called the Active Transportation Alliance issued a critical report. After a furious reaction by the Daley administration, the organization issued a groveling retraction. “I would like to simply state that we should not have published this report,” said executive director Rob Sadowsky. “I am embarrassed that it not only contains factual errors, but that it also paints an incorrect interpretation of the lease’s overall goals.” Sadowsky is no longer in Chicago. It’s easy to see how fiascoes like the parking-meter lease happen where civic culture is rotten and new ideas can’t get a hearing. Chicago’s location already isolates it somewhat from outside views. Combine that with the culture of clout, and you get a city that’s too often an echo chamber of boosterism lacking a candid assessment of the challenges it faces. Some of those challenges defy easy solutions: no government can conjure up a calling-card industry, and it isn’t obvious how Chicago could turn around the Midwest. Mayor Emanuel is hobbled by some of the deals of the past—the parking-meter lease, for example, and various union contracts that don’t expire until 2017 and that Daley signed to guarantee labor peace during the city’s failed Olympic bid. But there’s a lot that Emanuel and Chicago can do, starting with facing the fiscal mess head-on. Emanuel has vowed to balance the budget without gimmicks. He cut spending in his 2012 budget by 5.4 percent. He wants to save money by letting private companies bid to provide city services. He’s found some small savings by better coordination with Cook County. Major surgery remains to be done, however, including a tough renegotiation of union contracts, merging some functions with county government, and some significant restructuring of certain agencies, such as the fire department. By far the most important item for both the city and state is pension reform for existing workers—a politically and legally challenging project, to say the least. To date, only limited reforms have passed: the state changed its retirement age, but only for new hires. Next is to improve the business climate by reforming governance and rules. This includes curtailing aldermanic privilege, shrinking the overly large city council, and radically pruning regulations. Emanuel has already gotten some votes of confidence from the city’s business community, recently announcing business expansions with more than 8,000 jobs, though they’re mostly from big corporate players. Chicago also needs something even harder to achieve: wholesale cultural change. It needs to end its obsession with being solely a global city, look for ways to reinvigorate its role as capital of the Midwest, and provide opportunities for its neglected middle and working classes, not just the elites. This means more focus on the basics of good governance and less focus on glamour. Chicago must also forge a culture of greater civic participation and debate. You can’t address your problems if everyone is terrified of stepping out of line and admitting that they exist. Here, at least, Emanuel can set the tone. In March, he publicly admitted that Chicago had suffered a “lost decade,” a promisingly candid assessment, and he has tapped former D.C. transportation chief Gabe Klein to run Chicago’s transportation department, rather than picking a Chicago insider. Continuing to welcome outsiders and dissident voices will help dilute the culture of clout. Fixing Chicago will be a big, difficult project, but it’s necessary. The city’s sparkling core may continue to shine, and magazines may continue to applaud the global city on Lake Michigan—but without a major change in direction, Chicago can expect to see still more people and jobs fleeing for more hospitable locales. Aaron M. Renn is an urban analyst, consultant, and publisher of the urban policy website The Urbanophile.
  15. The French election and business The terror The 75% tax and other alarming campaign promises Apr 7th 2012 | PARIS | from the print edition EUROFINS SCIENTIFIC, a bio-analytics firm, is the sort of enterprise that France boasts about. It is fast-growing, international and hungry to buy rivals. So people noticed when in March it decamped to Luxembourg. Observers reckon it was fleeing France’s high taxes. It will soon be joined by Sword Group, a successful software firm, which voted to move to Luxembourg last month. As France enters the final weeks of its presidential campaign, candidates are competing to promise new measures that would hurt business. François Hollande, the Socialist candidate, and the current favourite to win the second and final round on May 6th, has promised a top marginal income-tax rate of 75% for those earning over €1m ($1.3m). He has declared war on finance. If the Socialists win, he pledges, corporate taxes will rise and stock options will be outlawed. Other countries welcome global firms. “France seems to want to keep them out,” sighs Denis Kessler, the boss of SCOR, a reinsurer. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an even leftier candidate than Mr Hollande, has been gaining ground. Communists marched to the Bastille on March 18th to support him. The right offers little solace. Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent, is unpopular partly because of his perceived closeness to fat cats. To distance himself, he has promised a new tax on French multinationals’ foreign sales. If Mr Hollande wins, he may water down his 75% income-tax rate. But it would be difficult to back away from such a bold, public pledge. And doing business in France is hard enough without such uncertainty. Companies must cope with heavy social charges, intransigent unions and political meddling. The 35-hour work week, introduced in 2000, makes it hard to get things done. Mr Hollande says he will reverse a measure Mr Sarkozy introduced to dilute its impact by exempting overtime pay from income tax and social charges. The 75% income-tax rate is dottier than a pointilliste painting. When other levies are added, the marginal rate would top 90%. In parts of nearby Switzerland, the top rate is around 20%. French firms are already struggling to hire foreign talent. More firms may leave. Armand Grumberg, an expert in corporate relocation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a law firm, says that several big companies and rich families are looking at ways to leave France. At a recent lunch for bosses of the largest listed firms, the main topic was how to get out. Investment banks and international law firms would probably be the first to go, as they are highly mobile. Already, the two main listed banks, BNP Paribas and Société Générale, are facing queries from investors about Mr Hollande’s plan to separate their retail arms from investment banking. He has also vowed to hike the corporate tax on banks from 33% to nearly 50%. In January Paris launched a new €120m ($160m) “seed” fund to attract hedge funds. Good luck with that. Last month Britain promised to cut its top tax rate from 50% to 45%. No financial centre comes close to Mr Hollande’s 75% rate (see chart). Large firms will initially find it hard to skedaddle. Those with the status ofsociété anonyme, the most common, need a unanimous vote from shareholders. But the European Union’s cross-border merger directive offers an indirect route: French firms can merge with a foreign company. Big groups also have the option of moving away the substance of their operations, meaning decision-making and research and development. Last year, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the boss of Schneider Electric, an energy-services company, moved with his top managers to run the firm from Hong Kong (where the top tax rate is 15%). For now, the firm’s headquarters and tax domicile remain in France. But for how long? Pressure to leave could come from foreign shareholders, says Serge Weinberg, the chairman of Sanofi, a drugmaker. “American, German or Middle Eastern shareholders will not tolerate not being able to get the best management because of France’s tax regime,” he says. At the end of 2010, foreign shareholders held 42% of the total value of the firms in the CAC 40, the premier French stock index. That is higher than in many other countries. It is not clear whether the 75% tax rate would apply to capital gains as well as income. As with most of the election campaign’s anti-business pledges, the detail has been left vague. Mr Sarkozy has offered various definitions of what he means by “big companies”, which would have to pay his promised new tax. Some businessfolk therefore hope that the most onerous pledges will be quietly ditched once the election is over. But many nonetheless find the campaign alarming. French politicians not only seem to hate business; they also seem to have little idea how it actually works. The most debilitating effects of all this may be long-term. Brainy youngsters have choices. They can find jobs or set up companies more or less anywhere. The ambitious will risk their savings, borrow money and toil punishing hours to create new businesses that will, in turn, create jobs and new products. But they will not do this for 25% (or less) of the fruits of their labour. Zurich is only an hour away; French politics seem stuck in another century. http://www.economist.com/node/21552219
  16. Malek

    France's future: A country in denial

    VISIT the euro zone and you will be invigorated by gusts of reform. The “Save Italy” plan has done enough for Mario Monti, the prime minister, to declare, however prematurely, that the euro crisis is nearly over. In Spain Mariano Rajoy’s government has tackled the job market and is about to unveil a tight budget (see article). For all their troubles, Greeks know that the free-spending and tax-dodging are over. But one country has yet to face up to its changed circumstances. France is entering the final three weeks of its presidential campaign. The ranking of the first round, on April 22nd, remains highly uncertain, but the polls back François Hollande, the Socialist challenger, to win a second-round victory. Indeed, in elections since the euro crisis broke, almost all governments in the euro zone have been tossed out by voters. But Nicolas Sarkozy, the Gaullist president, has been clawing back ground. The recent terrorist atrocity in Toulouse has put new emphasis on security and Islamism, issues that tend to favour the right—or, in the shape of Marine Le Pen, the far right. Yet what is most striking about the French election is how little anybody is saying about the country’s dire economic straits (see article). The candidates dish out at least as many promises to spend more as to spend less. Nobody has a serious agenda for reducing France’s eye-watering taxes. Mr Sarkozy, who in 2007 promised reform with talk of a rupture, now offers voters protectionism, attacks on French tax exiles, threats to quit Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone and (at least before Toulouse) talk of the evils of immigration and halal meat. Mr Hollande promises to expand the state, creating 60,000 teaching posts, partially roll back Mr Sarkozy’s rise in the pension age from 60 to 62, and squeeze the rich (whom he once cheerfully said he did not like), with a 75% top income-tax rate. A plethora of problems France’s defenders point out that the country is hardly one of the euro zone’s Mediterranean basket cases. Unlike those economies, it should avoid recession this year. Although one ratings agency has stripped France of its AAA status, its borrowing costs remain far below Italy’s and Spain’s (though the spread above Germany’s has risen). France has enviable economic strengths: an educated and productive workforce, more big firms in the global Fortune 500 than any other European country, and strength in services and high-end manufacturing. However, the fundamentals are much grimmer. France has not balanced its books since 1974. Public debt stands at 90% of GDP and rising. Public spending, at 56% of GDP, gobbles up a bigger chunk of output than in any other euro-zone country—more even than in Sweden. The banks are undercapitalised. Unemployment is higher than at any time since the late 1990s and has not fallen below 7% in nearly 30 years, creating chronic joblessness in the crime-ridden banlieues that ring France’s big cities. Exports are stagnating while they roar ahead in Germany. France now has the euro zone’s largest current-account deficit in nominal terms. Perhaps France could live on credit before the financial crisis, when borrowing was easy. Not any more. Indeed, a sluggish and unreformed France might even find itself at the centre of the next euro crisis. Browse our slideshow guide to the leading candidates for the French presidency It is not unusual for politicians to avoid some ugly truths during elections; but it is unusual, in recent times in Europe, to ignore them as completely as French politicians are doing. In Britain, Ireland, Portugal and Spain voters have plumped for parties that promised painful realism. Part of the problem is that French voters are notorious for their belief in the state’s benevolence and the market’s heartless cruelty. Almost uniquely among developed countries, French voters tend to see globalisation as a blind threat rather than a source of prosperity. With the far left and the far right preaching protectionism, any candidate will feel he must shore up his base. Many business leaders cling to the hope that a certain worldly realism will emerge. The debate will tack back to the centre when Mr Sarkozy and Mr Hollande square off in the second round; and once elected, the new president will ditch his extravagant promises and pursue a sensible agenda of reform, like other European governments. But is that really possible? It would be hard for Mr Sarkozy suddenly to propose deep public-spending cuts, given all the things he has said. It would be harder still for Mr Hollande to drop his 75% tax rate. 1981 and all that Besides, there is a more worrying possibility than insincerity. The candidates may actually mean what they say. And with Mr Hollande, who after all is still the most likely victor, that could have dramatic consequences. The last time an untried Socialist candidate became president was in 1981. As a protégé of François Mitterrand, Mr Hollande will remember how things turned out for his mentor. Having nationalised swathes of industry and subjected the country to two devaluations and months of punishment by the markets, Mitterrand was forced into reverse. Mr Hollande’s defenders say he is a pragmatist with a more moderate programme than Mitterrand’s. His pension-age rollback applies only to a small set of workers; his 75% tax rate affects a tiny minority. Yet such policies indicate hostility to entrepreneurship and wealth creation and reflect the French Socialist Party’s failure to recognise that the world has changed since 1981, when capital controls were in place, the European single market was incomplete, young workers were less mobile and there was no single currency. Nor were France’s European rivals pursuing big reforms with today’s vigour. If Mr Hollande wins in May (and his party wins again at legislative elections in June), he may find he has weeks, not years, before investors start to flee France’s bond market. The numbers of well-off and young French people who hop across to Britain (and its 45% top income tax) could quickly increase. Even if Mr Sarkozy is re-elected, the risks will not disappear. He may not propose anything as daft as a 75% tax, but neither is he offering the radical reforms or the structural downsizing of spending that France needs. France’s picnickers are about to be swamped by harsh reality, no matter who is president. http://www.economist.com/node/21551478
  17. Only reason I am asking, you get dinged 31% if you take out over $15000 and you get dinged again because the Canadian / Quebec government consider it income. So honestly, what is the use to have something like this, if you are just going be penalized for saving money. $15000 turns into $10350 which turns into $9016.75 At least the TFSA you don't get taxed but there is a limit on how much you can put in. If you haven't put in any money since they started in 2009, you deposit $15,000 and whatever you make from it is tax free
  18. Why isn't there a directory for all the judges in Quebec? There is a directory for Judges but on Wikipedia and it is for Judges from the 19th century. They hold a job that is paid by tax dollars. Those people should have their name posted online and with their work related email address. Same goes for all other public employees. Why isn't there any transparency? I would love to see every penny of the tax dollars and where it goes. What is funny, even the politicians don't even put their email addresses online. It is so much fun, trying to find the proper inbox to send them a letter. [update]: I so far found 14 judges that serve here in Montreal. That is a small number from the 89 - 101 judges. Jean Charest National Assembly (Only one I could find) Liberal Party (I am not sure if it is the proper one) Francois Legault National Assembly (Found on Facebook) Coalition (You will most likely get an email back from their info email address.) Pauline Marois National Assembly (Found on Facebook) Parti Québécois (I am not sure if it is the proper one)
  19. Rebooting Britain: Tax people back into the cities By PD Smith30 November 09 For the first time in history, more than half the world's population live in cities: by 2030, three out of five people will be city dwellers. But the British are bucking this trend. The 2001 census revealed an "exodus from the cities". Since 1981, Greater London and the six former metropolitan counties of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire have lost some 2.25 million people in net migration exchanges with the rest of the UK; in recent years this trend has accelerated. This is not sustainable. British people need to be cured of the insidious fantasy of leaving the city and owning a house in the country: their romantic dream will become a nightmare for people elsewhere on the planet. The fact is that rural households have higher carbon dioxide emissions per person than those in the city, thanks to their generally larger, detached or semi-detached houses, multiple cars and long commutes (cars are responsible for 12 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe - 50 per cent in some parts of the US). The regions with the biggest carbon footprints in the UK are not the metropolises of Glasgow or London, but the largely rural northeast of England, as well as Yorkshire and the Humber. In fact, the per capita emissions of the Big Smoke - London - are the lowest of any part of the UK. To create a low-carbon economy we need to become a nation of city dwellers. We tax cigarettes to reflect the harm they do to our health: we need to tax lifestyles that are damaging the health of the planet - and that means targeting people who choose to live in the countryside. We need a Rural Living Tax. Agricultural workers and others whose jobs require them to live outside cities would be exempt. The revenue raised could be used to build new, well-planned cities and to radically upgrade the infrastructure of existing cities. We have an opportunity to create an urban renaissance, to make cities attractive places to live again - not just for young adults, but for families and retired people, the groups most likely to leave the city. Turning our old cities into "smart cities" won't be easy or cheap, but in a recession this investment in infrastructure will boost the economy. We need to learn to love our cities again, because they will help us to save the planet. P. D. Smith is an honorary research associate in the Science and Technology Studies Department at University College London and author of Doomsday Men: The Real Dr Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon (2008). He is writing a cultural history of cities. http://www.peterdsmith.com *********** If such a tax ever existed in the Montreal area, people would be so mad. You might even see a repeat of the merger demonstrations.
  20. mtlurb

    Le Saint-Martin - 15 étages (2010)

    After 57 years, it's bye-bye Ben's Sandwich shop is toast. Montreal landmark closed in December and now faces the wrecker's ball MARY LAMEY, The Gazette Published: Saturday, May 12, 2007 Ben's Restaurant, a Montreal landmark closed in December after a lengthy labour dispute, has been sold and will face the wrecker's ball. SIDEV Realty Corp. has purchased the three-storey building at the corner of Metcalfe St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd., from the Kravitz family. The deal is expected to close on June 18. The purchase price has not been disclosed. SIDEV plans to demolish the building and is examining various options for redeveloping the 6,000-square-foot site. One option would be to build a 12- to-15-storey boutique hotel with retail space on the lower floors, or condominiums, said SIDEV president Sam Benatar, who began discussions with the Kravitz family several months ago. Ben's Deli in 2006: The municipal tax roll pegs its value at $2.62 million.View Larger Image View Larger Image Ben's Deli in 2006: The municipal tax roll pegs its value at $2.62 million. "It's a very small site, but what an incredible location," Benatar said. His firm is also open to working with the Hines-SITQ partnership, which is planning a 28-storey office tower on the lot immediately east of Ben's. SIDEV has been in touch with the SITQ and expects to meet with the real estate development arm of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec to see whether they can work together. His firm is not planning to sell the land, Benatar said firmly. "We did not buy in order to sell, but we are open to discussing all possibilities." A spokesman for the SITQ said he was unaware of the transaction and doubted the developer would alter its project to incorporate the Ben's property. "We are moving ahead with the project we presented publicly last October," said Jacques-Andre Charland, the SITQ's director of public affairs. The Texas-based Hines Group purchased the parking lot immediately east of Ben's in 2004. It partnered with the SITQ, a major landlord, to build the $150-million project that was to virtually wrap around the restaurant, one of the last three-storey structures along the canyon of office towers on De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Hines has said publicly that it had hoped to strike a deal to acquire the neighbouring land, too. The Kravitz family has vehemently denied that it was ever approached about selling. The family could not be reached for comment yesterday. Ben Kravitz opened a deli offering smoked meat on St. Lawrence Blvd. in 1908. The Metcalfe St. eatery, with its wrap-around illuminated sign, opened in 1950. The current municipal tax roll pegs the property's value at $2.62 million, including $1.96 million for the land and $660,700 for the building. "There's no question of leaving the building in place. It isn't worth anything," Benatar said. SIDEV owns and manages large office and commercial properties around Montreal, including the Gordon Brown building at 400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. in the fur district, the jewellery business hub at 620 Cathcart St. and a Chabanel district property at 9250 Park Ave. It is also moving ahead with a plan to demolish the Spectrum and build a $120-million retail and office project at the southeast corner of Bleury and Ste. Catherine Sts.
  21. http://www.montrealgazette.com/Canada+driversdeserve+Roads+Czar/4434450/story.html I am not thinking highly of a federal office to solve problems. That said, the monies recieved from at least the federal gasoline and diesel excise tax & GST on gasoline should be invested in roads and highways and not the BS black hole it goes into currently (notwithstanding various federal-aid highway projects which seem to be common, like A-30, A-85, Montreal bridges, Calgary & Edmonton ring roads, NB Route 2 etc, the total investment is still much less than the excise revenues).
  22. Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/Quebec+immigration+consultant+arrested+fraud+ring/4070879/story.html#ixzz1B9IRBxSU I just wonder how many people out there do this
  23. MTLskyline

    Tax on the tax

    http://www.cjad.com/localNews.aspx?articleID=158627 I think the attitude of this government is really summed up in the last line.