Insights & Issues – February
2016 is off to a rocky start! Global stock markets experienced the worst January on record, oil and commodity prices are weak, and emerging markets appear to be losing steam. The Bank of Canada is forecasting economic growth of a mere 1.5 percent this year and Ontario’s business confidence has dropped to a five-year low of 30 percent.
Thunder Bay is not immune to these challenges. Businesses and their employees are struggling to manage both a slowing business climate and rising costs. Chamber members tell me that they are very concerned about the upcoming city budget which includes a 3.83% increase in the net tax levy for existing taxpayers and a net operating budget increase of 4.4%. Our members indicate that a net tax levy increase in the range of 2.5% would be manageable under current circumstances.
We know that City Council is facing some very difficult decisions and we offer our support and assistance to reduce the tax levy increase. This will not be an easy task but it is necessary in these tough times and will help our competitive position in the long term.
The Chamber looks forward to working with Council, Administration and the community to achieve our shared vision of a city that is connected, healthy, vibrant and strong.