Winnipeggers surveyed on New Deal concept|
WINNIPEG - September 29, 2003 - More than 80 per cent of citizens believe Winnipeg must look at increasing its revenues from sources other than property taxes, states a Prairie Research Associates survey released today.
A majority of those surveyed (58 per cent) indicate they’d support adding or increasing user fees. Only 10 per cent support significant property tax increases.
The random telephone survey, done for the City of Winnipeg before a New Deal proposal was made public, interviewed 602 individuals and asked them to respond to roughly 50 questions about the City and a New Deal. The sample size provided a theoretical error rate of +/- 4.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The greatest support (90 per cent) was for a portion of the current federal gasoline tax being re-directed to help pay for maintaining and upgrading roads. Support was also high for a sales tax (87 per cent).
More than 85 per cent of those surveyed also suggested they’d like to see those who live outside the city, but use city services, help pay for those services. There was 84 per cent support for making those who benefit from services pay.
There was also a strong feeling (80 per cent) that people who use more environmentally friendly methods should pay less.
Some 59 per cent said they’d support an actual increase in the sales tax of half a per cent if the money went to support services, such as policing and major roads. However, support dropped to 47 per cent for a one per cent increase and to 16 per cent for a two per cent increase.
Only 13 per cent of those surveyed support eliminating services such as recreation programs and libraries to free up money for roads, bridges, sewers and water mains.
Prairie Research partner Kerry Dangerfield said the survey results indicate Winnipeggers are “generally supportive” of a New Deal concept and are open to additional taxes if the new money is clearly linked to specific services.
“However, they want a fuller understanding of the implications for them personally,” Dangerfield said.
Mayor Glen Murray said he wants all Winnipeggers to have a say in what they pay and encourages them to participate in a series of six Town Hall meetings, beginning Oct. 6.
“We want to hear from taxpayers on their vision for a better, fairer and more progressive taxation system,” Murray said.
A New Deal is not just about getting the City’s fiscal house in order, but about having a vision for Winnipeg - a vision for a bright future, he said.
Almost 80 per cent of those surveyed indicated Winnipeg must make some radical changes if it’s going to attract and retain people.
Six in 10 respondents agreed there is a perception that the way things are going, Winnipeg will continue to fall behind other cities.
“We don’t want that to happen, and the time to act is now,” he said. “It’s difficult to create a vibrant, competitive city with an outdated taxation system. There is a need for fundamental change.”
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