The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says a proposed new regional carbon tax to pay for the Metro Vancouver mayor’s 10 year transit plan is a bad idea.
Executive Vice President Laura Jones says any new taxes will hurt small business, and would likely encourage drivers to head south to fill up for gas.
“While you’re down there you may do some other shopping as well, and businesses are already challenged by cross border shopping, anything that makes that worse is not going to be welcome news.”
Jones says municipalities need to get their own budgets under control before asking for more tax power.
“I think the local level of government needs to do a much better job of controlling its costs before they hold out their hands for more money. We’ve done study after study where we show at the local level, they are way outspending what population and inflation suggests would be reasonable.”
Meanwhile economist Charles Lammam with the Fraser Institute says a proposed second carbon tax would have negative economic consequences.
“Not only would it likely encourage more cross border shopping, because a lot of the differentials are driven by the taxes we pay here in the province, but I think it will also discourage production, it’s going to discourage businesses from setting up operations, from investing in the province, and ultimately from creating jobs.”
Lammam says the only way the policy would make sense is if the province reduces other taxes to make it revenue neutral.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone says a new regional carbon tax will be complex and costly to administer, and people would need to vote on it through a referendum.