Metro Vancouver sales tax increase would send shoppers to Abbotsford, say Langley businesses

The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce says the 0.5 per cent PST increase proposed by Metro Vancouver's mayors would be bad for local businesses.

The 0.5 per cent tax increase has been proposed as a means of funding transit improvements

The proposed tax hike, if approved in next year's transit referendum, would help fund new transit projects and improvement work in Metro Vancouver. (CBC)

The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce said the 0.5 per cent PST increase proposed by Metro Vancouver's mayors could drive shoppers to nearby Abbotsford, which will not be subject to the tax increase.

The region's mayors proposed the tax hike last Thursday, when they hammered out the question that could be asked in next year's transit referendum on how to fund new transit projects and improvement work.

The mayors say the tax increase is necessary to pay for projects like a Broadway SkyTrain Line, a new Pattullo Bridge, and light rail in Surrey.

But Kristine Simpson, president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, says local businesses are concerned the tax hike could prompt people to drive to Abbotsford instead, to save on big purchases.

"One of the associations that's come forward is the Car Dealership Association," she told Gloria Macarenko for the CBC Radio program On The Coast.

Simpson believes user fees are a better way to fund transportation improvements.

"Right now we have a tolling policy that only tolls a couple of bridges in the region. So it would make sure that everybody in the region is paying based on their usage," Simpson said.

Hear Kristine Simpson's interview for On The Coast by clicking audio link: Langley business

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