Relief is in sight for Vancouver homeowners groaning under the burden of property taxes.
The year 2012 will be the last in the five-year shifting of taxes from business to residential properties, a measure started in 2008 by the then-ruling Non-Partisan Association and continued by its successor, Vision Vancouver, after the 2008 election. Vision went on to win another huge majority on council in the election this fall.
“We will not be implementing further shifting this term,” Vision councillor Raymond Louie told the Straight by phone.
A staff report about the city’s 2012 budget indicates that at the end of the five-year levy redistribution, $23.8 million in annual property taxes will have been transferred off the back of businesses. During the past term, councillors with the Coalition of Progressive Electors consistently voted against the policy. No COPE candidate was elected to council in the latest balloting.
Adriane Carr, the first-ever Green Party of Vancouver member of council, supports the tax shift. She also thinks that a new round of tax redistribution should be considered after 2012. According to her, this move would lighten the costs of doing business in the city. “We’ve seen the closure of many, many small, independent, unique businesses, and I believe they are the most lively part of our community’s commerce,” Carr told the Straight by phone.
The urban-affairs policy group Think City has opposed the NPA and Vision’s policy of shifting taxes.
“It’s cost homeowners—by the end of the final year—$75 million in taxes being shifted to homeowners,” Think City chair Neil Monckton told the Straight by phone.