For Immediate Release: October 19th, 2010
Councillors David Cadman and Ellen Woodsworth are opposing plans to continue with a tax shifting policy for the upcoming budget. The proposed 1% tax shift from business to residential tax payers would be in addition to the millions of dollars shifted already since the NPA began the policy in 2006.
Councillor Woodsworth called on the Mayor to halt the shift and pointed out that Vancouver businesses already benefit from one of the best tax climates in North America, "We have one of the lowest business tax rate in the country when you factor in federal, provincial, and municipal rates. I just can’t support another reduction in their taxes by shifting it to residents who are already hurting due to job losses, service cuts, high housing costs, and increases to utility rates."
The 1% shift, combined with the Mayor’s stated goal of keeping any tax increase to an overall level of 2%, would mean a tax increase of 4% for residential property owners, but only 1% for businesses. Councillor Cadman finds that breakdown unacceptable. "We’re asking our residential taxpayers to pay a 4% increase, and see their vital services cut, all in the name of a tax policy that was conceived of when our economy was booming. Now is not the time to balance our budget on the backs of seniors, families, children, and the at-risk," said Cadman.
Both Councillors were unanimous in what they saw as a more equitable approach, "We need to stop the shift, and save the services and jobs." They continued, "If we can ask home owners to absorb 4%, then there’s no reason why businesses can’t do the same."
Almost $40 million have been identified by city staff as efficiencies that have helped draw down the deficit from over $60 million to the $20.6 million Vancouver faces today. "These are huge savings that our staff have worked hard to find and it’s clear that all that’s left are vital services that contribute to our city’s amazing quality of life," said Cadman. He noted that cutting into this quality of life will cost far, far more down the road with increased levels of crime, poor health, and marginalized communities. "Continuing with the shift, and slashing services is extremely short sighted."