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Chamber presses for business tax support

By: Grant Burr

Posted: 06/12/2019 11:55 PM

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Steinbach Chamber of Commerce president Tim Schmitt delivered a stack of letters into the hands of Steinbach city council on Tuesday night, which he said vouched for the business community’s continued support for the city’s business tax.

For more than a decade, the city's business tax levy has been set at a rate of 0.5 percent and currently generates about $145,000 annually. The city provides a grant to the chamber on an annual basis that is roughly equivalent to all business taxes collected.

In April, Councillor Susan Penner sparked discussion about whether the arrangement should continue.

Schmitt said he welcomed the opportunity to connect with members about current practice and told The Carillon that a good cross-section of support was received from a variety of types of businesses in the community.

Schmitt noted that losing funding from the business tax would have a huge impact on chamber operations.

"If there were a change it would have significant effect on the chamber and we would have to revise a bunch of things we do."

It seemed, however, that council was largely satisfied with the chamber’s presentation and show of support through the letter writing campaign.

"I think they did a good job of getting members support which, quite frankly, is what I was looking for," Penner told The Carillon.

"Personally, I believe I will be supporting it after seeing this presentation."

Mayor Earl Funk said a final decision would be made during council’s summer study session, but he also expressed support for the status quo.

"This is what we wanted to know. Is the business community supportive of this or are they against this? Now we know what we need to know."

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