Intro: This op ed is in the Saturday’s print edition of the Vancouver Sun – May 26, 2018 – page H3. Some food for thought in the current public dialogue about housing and taxes. Two important public meetings are coming up on these topics – one on Sunday, May 27 (West Point Grey Residents Association) and one on Monday, June 4 (MLA David Eby’s office, tickets on waitlist, but also to be live streamed).
Property taxes in the City of Vancouver are the highest in Canada, and if the proposed school-tax surcharge is added, it increases the amount substantially more, says Elizabeth Murphy, former property development officer for the city.
Vancouver has the highest property taxes in Canada. The B.C. property-tax surcharge would further increase this burden and substantially encroach onto the municipal tax base. This regressive provincial tax grab will make life less affordable for everyone, both owners and renters. To understand this requires looking past ideological bias and considering the facts.
In the 1990s, a luxury tax was proposed on properties above $500,000. If that hadn’t been withdrawn by then-Premier Mike Harcourt, it would have eventually applied to all properties across the city and region, including most condos.
The proposed surtax is strategically tied to the $3-million mark to minimize initial impact of this precedent that, if implemented, will eventually be broadly expanded to capture all properties just like the 1990s’ version would have.
Everyone should be concerned.
The calculation of property taxes is very specific to each municipality. Property taxes are based on a mill rate. This is calculated by taking the total municipal budget and dividing it by the total assessed value of all properties in the class (such as residential). Continue reading