Specifically, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Kingston Chamber of Commerce are champions of the recommendation to increase the “Heads and Beds Levy”. The levy is a payment in lieu of taxes for public institutions such as provincial correctional institutions, hospitals and post-secondary institutions and has not been adjusted in 30 years. This issue was originally raised and passed as a policy resolution at the OCC’s Annual General Meeting in 2012 and passed a second time in 2015. The result is undo pressure on all tax classes in municipalities with these institutions, particularly the commercial and industrial classes.
“Municipalities are struggling with a multitude of financial pressures and the current levy of $75 per head and bed no longer accurately reflects the cost of delivering services,” said Jim Hill, Chair of the Board of Directors, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “For Peterborough adjusting the levy to $100 per head and bed would see $1.1 million in additional funds each year in the municipal budget.”
In the submission, Ontario’s Chamber Network is also calling on the government to send a clear message of fiscal stability by balancing the provincial budget by 2017-2018. Such action would result in a more attractive environment for business investment and growth as well as confront the challenge of mounting input costs, such as electricity prices. As signalled last week in the OCC’s Ontario Economic Report, businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. This indicates that industry sees the Ontario economy as high-risk.
“The Government of Ontario must ensure that it utilizes the budget as a tool for economic growth to support Ontario businesses,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. “Government must do more to reduce the costs of doing business in Ontario, support strategic infrastructure development and strengthen its efforts to bolster business competitiveness that allows communities to thrive.”
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Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce