Canadian Manufacturing

Small businesses don’t trust government with new infrastructure money: CFIB

Proposals to fund transit infrastructure include gas and fuel tax increases, a corporate income tax hike and an increase in the Harmonized Sales Tax

TORONTO—Canada’s small business community is skeptical of the Ontario Liberals’ ability to use new proposed infrastructure taxes for the purposes that they are intended.

Indeed, 83 per cent of respondents to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) signaled that they do not trust the provincial government in this regard.

This comes as the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel delivered its recommendations for funding the “Big Move” in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), a multi-billion dollar plan to fight traffic gridlock. Among the proposals are combinations of phased-in gas and fuel tax increases, a corporate income tax hike, and an increase in the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

“I find it troubling that the panel has chosen to go ahead and recommend funding this plan via higher taxes,” said Plamen Petkov, CFIB’s vice-president for Ontario. “Especially after consulting with the public and hearing loud and clear that it doesn’t trust the government with more hard-earned tax dollars. Our members are telling us the same thing.”

Two days prior, the Auditor General of Ontario reported on the gross mismanagement of public money recklessly spent on high salaries, bonuses and pensions at Ontario Power Generation.

The CFIB survey results also indicate that 75 per cent of small business owners would be unlikely to vote for a candidate in the next municipal or provincial election who would support new or higher taxes.

“Small businesses have said from the start that the government has to go back to the drawing board because implementing higher taxes for infrastructure just isn’t affordable or fair,” added Nicole Troster, CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst for Ontario.

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