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Montreal businessman calling for massive commercial tax cuts

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WATCH: Business in downtown Montreal has been light due to the COVID-19 pandemic and even though there’s been a slight uptick in traffic, businesses are still suffering.

Montreal businessman Peter Sergakis is on a tax-cutting mission.

The owner of dozens of restaurants, bars and real estate properties is calling on city officials to dramatically cut commercial property taxes by 40 to 50 per cent.

“It has to be major changes. Major, major, major,” he said Tuesday morning at a press conference.

Read more: Downtown Montreal on life support with workers reluctant to return

A study published last year by Altus Group illustrates that Montreal businesses pay the highest commercial tax rates in the country with a mill rate of almost $38 per $1,000 assessment.

“They want the landlord to pay for no activity. There is no bloody activity. The city is dead,” Sergakis said.

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Sergakis is calling for a meeting with the mayor or other officials from her administration.

“Those politicians, they’re sitting in their offices and they don’t care, they don’t care about us,” he said.

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Sergakis insists that if the city doesn’t make substantial cuts — he will request the Quebec and federal governments to intervene.

Click to play video 'Montreal businesses worried about tax deadline approaching' Montreal businesses worried about tax deadline approaching
Montreal businesses worried about tax deadline approaching

Other business owners agree that commercial taxes in Montreal are too high.

“I would like the city to start being serious and take seriously those concerns,” Danielle Russell, the owner of Botania, a body and bath shop on Notre-Dame Street, said.

Read more: Business, property owners demand the City of Montreal be more friendly to their interests

Montreal’s point man on economic development says he’s ready to meet with Sergakis but making cuts of 40 per cent in commercial taxes is unlikely given that property taxes make up the majority of the city’s revenues.

“He asks for major fiscal cuts — tax cuts — but we have other groups who ask just for a freeze,” Luc Rabouin, Montreal’s executive committee member, told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

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City officials insist more details on property taxes for commercial and residential rates will be known when the budget is released in November.