Mayoral hopefuls take aim at business tax, 311 service
Coun. Paula Havixbeck, Brian Bowman make campaign announcements in Winnipeg mayoral race
Mayoral hopefuls made a slew of announcements Wednesday ranging from promises to put up photo radar signs in construction zones to lowering the business tax to streamlining services at 311.
Candidate Gord Steeves said if elected, he would create a policy that required signs be posted at all construction sites where photo radar is present.
Meanwhile, candidate Brian Bowman pledge to help grow small businesses by lowering the city’s business tax and increasing tax credits for small businesses.
Bowman made the announcement at former Blue Bomber Obby Khan’s restaurant Shawarma Khan in The Exchange District.
Bowman said he wants to reduce the business tax rate to offset the rising costs of renting spaces in Winnipeg. That tax currently sits at 5.7 per cent.
"I'd love to be able to have announced that we're just going to end the business tax, but I mean, I think credibility has to come into question," said Bowman. "It costs money to run a city, and I didn't want to make any campaign promises that we may not be able to keep."
He also wants to increase the small business tax credit from $23,800 to $30,000.
“At a minimum, [I would] freeze the actual amount that is collected from all businesses who pay the business tax. We’ll adjust it based on what the average rental rates go up,” said Bowman.
Khan, a Bowman supporter, was on hand for the announcement and said he liked the idea. He said he would use his savings to reinvest in equipment for his restaurant and hire more staff.
While Bowman was talking small business, mayoral hopeful and City Councillor Paula Havixbeck set her sights on the city’s 311 line.
She said, if elected, she would streamline services by having a single person assigned to each call, meaning citizens wouldn’t get bounced around to different departments while looking for answers.
"In trying to get answers, they are tossed around from department to department, and so what my pledge is here today is a single point of contact for customer service when people have issues," said Havixbeck.
Havixbeck said the change would avoid a “game of bureaucratic hot-potato.”