84% of small businesses oppose Metrolinx plan to fight traffic gridlock with higher taxes: Survey

TORONTO, July 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The push by Metrolinx for higher taxes and fees to pay for its "Big Move" plan is getting big thumbs down from small businesses, according to a survey of 1,300 business owners conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Small business owners in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) were surveyed in the days following the release of the transportation agency's list of revenue tools to pay for its $50 billion plan to cut down on traffic gridlock in the region. The survey found that 84 per cent want new projects paid by using existing taxes and fees, not by hiking them or introducing new ones.

"Taxpayers aren't buying the argument that hiking taxes is the only solution to reducing gridlock on our roads and highways," said CFIB's president, Dan Kelly. "While some on Bay Street might be perfectly fine with paying more, the majority of Ontarians who rely on Main Street for their livelihood want the Wynne government to send Metrolinx back to the drawing board."

The survey also found strong opposition across the GTHA (Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Burlington, Markham, Vaughan, Newmarket, Brampton and Hamilton), including most of the specific "revenue tools" recommended by Metrolinx:

  • 91% oppose a hike to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST);
  • 85% oppose higher fuel and gasoline taxes;
  • 68% oppose a commercial parking tax; and
  • 59% oppose higher development charges

"Small businesses have a strong interest in seeing the bottlenecks on the 401 or 403 removed," added CFIB's Ontario director, Plamen Petkov. "If people can't move, goods and services can't either. But, the message in these survey results is clear, let's not fix one problem by swapping it for another - bringing the economy to a screeching halt."

Complete survey results, with breakouts by municipalities, can be found at www.cfib.ca.

CFIB is Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 42,000 in the province of Ontario.

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information:

To arrange an interview with Dan Kelly or Plamen Petkov, please contact Gisele Lumsden at 416-222-8022 or by email at public.affairs@cfib.ca


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