For Immediate Release: April 21, 2011
COPE Councillors say ‘Ditch the Shift’
Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) City Councillors Ellen Woodsworth and David Cadman are again calling for the city’s tax shifting policy to be halted for 2011 in light of the stress city services are under. 2011 is the fourth year of a five-year plan to shift over $23 million in taxes from businesses to residents. City Council is preparing to ask the Director of Finance to carry on with the shift in a report that comes before council this morning.
Councillor Woodworth says that this regressive policy has meant over $50 million in potential lost revenues for the city. “That’s money that could be keeping the heat shelters open, making sure community centres remain affordable for families and seniors, or providing much needed stable support for arts groups.”
Councillor David Cadman called the tax shift unnecessary and pointed out that Vancouver already enjoys the distinction of having the lowest business tax costs of 41 international cities. “Some people choose to ignore the fact that Vancouver is already one of the most tax friendly jurisdictions in the world. But a well respected study from KPMG shows that continuing this tax shift is simply overkill at this point.”
Woodsworth noted that the per capita municipal property taxes and municipal revenues in B.C. are much lower than Alberta, Quebec or Ontario. “Who are we competing with here?” said Woodsworth. “At some point we have to take a step back and decide that enough is enough. We are in serious danger of losing the things that make our city great – the things that bring people and investment here in the first place.”