Municipalities defend business tax rates

B.C. cities and towns still charge businesses almost three times the residential rate on average, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Union of B.C. Municipalities president Barbara Steele

Local governments in B.C. have shown “a sliver” of improvement in their tax policies, but still place too heavy a burden on business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says in its annual survey.

“In 2010, small businesses paid 2.79 times more in property taxes than residents on the same value of property,” the CFIB says in its latest report, released Tuesday. “The business share of property taxes has been increasing over the last two decades, but dropped slightly over the past year.”

Out of 160 B.C. municipalities surveyed, 24 kept business taxes down to twice the residential rate or less. That’s the CFIB’s target rate for taxes.

The federation’s “worst offenders” list for 2010 is topped by North Saanich, one of the 13 municipalities that crowd the Victoria region. It charges more than six times the tax on business property as the equivalent residential value (6.05).

The rest of the list is Revelstoke (5.86), Kitimat (4.69), Coquitlam (4.69), Vancouver (4.55), Tumbler Ridge (4.33), Metchosin (4.12), Castlegar (4.04), Ashcroft (4.01), Lantzville (4.00), North Vancouver City (3.94), Burnaby (3.88), Logan Lake (3.87), Comox (3.82), View Royal (3.77), Whistler (3.75), Terrace (3.73), New Westminster (3.73), Colwood (3.67) and Hudson’s Hpe (3.67).

Prince George taxes business property at about twice the rate as residential, which is the ratio that the Union of B.C. Municipalities has advocated for several years.

The UBCM issued a sharply worded response to the CFIB survey in its June newsletter. Surrey Councillor Barb Steele, the current UBCM president, said administrative overhead has generally gone down, while municipal spending has increased mainly for protective services, parks and recreation.

“The CFIB has a simple answer for the complexities of local government finance: cut spending,” Steele said. “It’s a hollow exercise to lecture about spending before considering the people who rely on the services municipalities provide.”

The UBCM calculates that the overall share of property tax paid by business has declined slightly in the past 20 years, while the total share paid by residential owners has gone up by seven per cent.

Reaching the business group’s target of a two-to-one ratio would result in a tax hike of $230 for the average B.C. homeowner.

Just Posted

Watercolours by late Chilliwack artist to be unveiled at Yarrow Library

The public is invited to a special unveiling of three of Heinz Klassen’s watercolour paintings

Yarrow Library one of the stops on Cubetto’s grand tour

FVRL’s friendly wooden robot, Cubetto, travels throughout Fraser Valley to teach programming basics

No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

The garden is still homeless after SD78 said no to the society using the McCaffrey School property

Chilliwack PEO: ‘We who are sisters’

International oganization celebrating 150 years of service

Chilliwack students take the lead as mental health advocates

About 100 Chilliwack youth prepped to make a difference during Mental Health Week

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

VIDEO: Fan support almost deafening as Giants take Game 2 in finals

Vancouver G-Men cap comeback with thrilling third period to beat Spokane 4-2 on home ice in Langley

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read