A village in Abitibi increased taxes on its businesses by 49% to get $600,000 more from gold mines. Both convenience stores say they can not survive this increase.
The only two convenience stores in Preissac, a village of 800 inhabitants located between Rouyn-Noranda and Amos, announced their closure because, they say, of the municipal tax increase of 49% imposed on businesses in 2018.
“We’re not here yet,” exclaims Lise Goulet, who owns the 4 Saisons convenience store, along with her husband.
Since buying the business three years ago, the couple has to spend their own money to run the business.
With this increase, their tax bill will increase from $2,500 to $3,700.
“It does not make sense,” says the one who works about 70 hours a week.
If nothing changes, Nathalie Inkel of the bistro-bar-store Manoir des Rapides will also put the key in the door at the end of 2018.
His tax bill will increase from $ 4000 to $ 5800. After raising the minimum wage to $ 12 an hour and raising taxes, it will not be able to complete the budget, which is already in deficit for some months.
20 km for milk
According to Inkel, residents will have to travel about 20 kilometers to buy milk or refuel after the two convenience stores have closed.
“It’s not counting our 20 employees who will lose their jobs,” she denounces.
This significant increase in taxes on non-residential buildings is aimed primarily at seeking $ 600,000 more each year from the La Ronde and Westwood gold mines, which are located on its territory. For mines, it is more of a 53% increase.
According to Preissac’s general manager, Gérard Pétrin, this is the maximum that the municipality can impose, according to the law.
Under a new tax rule, which derives from Bill 122, Preissac must increase the tax on businesses, even if they do not roll on gold.
Mr. Petrin notes that citizens are already consuming massively in Amos and Rouyn-Noranda and that the few shops in Preissac are precarious.
“Sometimes you have to let things go,” says the manager of a financially healthy municipality. According to him, the municipality has many projects, such as the purchase of a fire truck.
Since the adoption of the budget, the entrepreneur Sébastien Martel questions the construction of his commercial garage because of the tax rate, and plans to sell his house.
On the industrial side, Thermodoor’s vice president, Marilyne Pelchat, has found the tax increase to be around 50% since 2016.
The company wants to move to get closer to the workforce.
“You do not see any more benefits in being away,” she says.