VDLC Opposes Tax Shift to Residential Property

May 23, 2019

The VDLC voted at our May regular meeting to oppose the recent decision of Vancouver City Council to shift 2% of property taxes from business to residential properties. 

We are calling for a taxation system which will help small business where truly needed, without worsening the affordability crisis or opening the door to cuts. The current plan adopted by Council is effectively a handout to business, which big business will benefit the most from, at the expense of housing affordability. 

The following recommendation was adopted at the aforementioned meeting.

Subject:  Shifting the Tax Burden

BECAUSE on April 29, 2019, Vancouver City Council voted to reduce business property taxes by 2% and shift the burden of those taxes to residential property owners; and

BECAUSE this shift was done ostensibly to aid small business, but in fact is an across the board reduction for all businesses, meaning that wealthy corporations will reap the greatest benefits of this shift while predominately working people will take on the greatest burden; and

BECAUSE while we are sympathetic of the needs of small business people, many of whom are struggling, a more targeting tax adjustment specifically in aid of those in need would have been more appropriate than a across the board hand out; and

BECAUSE the effect of this tax shift will be to increase housing costs at a time where we remain entangled in a housing affordability crisis. This increased cost will not only be for homeowners, but also to renters as the increased costs are likely to be passed down in higher rents; and

BECAUSE if the revenue lost in business taxes is not made up via residential property tax increases it could lead to suggestions of budget cuts to make up the difference,  

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL express its opposition to this tax shift, and call instead for the City to work toward a new method of assessment which will provide tax fairness for residential and small business property owners while ensuring that big business pays its fair share; and

THE VANCOVUER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL oppose budget cuts as a solution to any funding shortfall related to this decision, as such cuts tend to reduce public services, eliminate jobs, and harm workers and their communities.

Note: Votes against were Mayor Kennedy Stewart, and councillors Colleen Hardwick (NPA), Christine Boyle (OneCity), Jean Swanson (COPE) and Melissa De Genova (NPA). Votes in favour were councillors Lisa Dominato (NPA), Sarah Kirby-Young (NPA), Rebecca Bligh (NPA), Michael Wiebe (Green), Adrienne Carr (Green), Pete Fry (Green).

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