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If you live outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you may not yet be aware that the city is currently undergoing a major change. Specifically, the mayor’s office is soon to house a new owner. And as debates heat up between candidates in recent weeks, business reporters Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew and Rita Trichur of The Toronto Star examine what the mayoral race looks like to business owners.
Catherine Swift, the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business was quoted as saying: “ The last few years have not been happy days for small businesses in Toronto. The cost of government in Toronto skyrocketed under David Miller.” With that being said, it is clear that small business owners will be looking to the new mayor for better assistance.
Acharya-Tom Yew and Trichur notes that candidate Rob Ford’s economic plan for the city is to spend less at City Hall and impose less taxes on the public. This, of course, is welcoming news to small business owners across the city. Last year, small businesses and citizens alike were hit hard by such incidents as the municipal workers strike which caused the stoppage of garbage collection.
High property taxes is also a growing concern amongst entrepreneurs. Swift notes that these issues have forced a number of business out of the city. Says Swift: “We have seen an exodus from Toronto to the 905 and they’ll never come back. When you’re driving businesses out, you’re driving jobs out. It felt like city council didn’t really care about business.”
Evidently, this is a major issue that the new mayor of Toronto will have to address. Keeping business owners happy is one thing. Keeping them remaining in the city is another. It is expected of the new mayor, that there will be a focus on cutting down the city’s deficit and promoting growth throughout the GTA.
Acharya-Tom Yew and Trichur do mention that the CFIB is not specifically backing any one candidate but do highlight the fact that Ford – an apparent front-runner – will be tackling the important concerns of small business owners. According to their article, “Ford also promises to slash city hall spending, and also to eliminate the land transfer tax and the $60 vehicle registration tax.”
Some believe that Ford lacks an economic plan, however. Erin Weir, an economist with the United Steelworkers union, reviewed Ford’s website only to feel as if the candidate is not concerning himself with the need’s of the city’s businesses. Said Weir: “I went to the section entitled ‘Issues.’ And if you do a search on it, the word ‘economy’ doesn’t appear at all and the word ‘economic’ doesn’t appear. So, I don’t think Rob Ford is even claiming that he has an economic plan.”