Vancouver striking the right balance between residential, business property tax, says commission

Vancouver’s five-year program to reduce the share of taxes paid by business has been effective, says the city’s Property Tax Review Commission, and there’s no need to move more of the tax burden to residential property owners as some business advocates propose.

That was the message to Vancouver council today from Stan Hamilton, chair of a three-person panel that first began reviewing the issue in 2006, in the wake of a business campaign to shift taxes off business to residential property owners.

Based on recommendations of a three-person panel led by Hamilton, successive councils shifted taxes at the rate of one percent a year for five years, moving $23.8 million of taxes to residential property owners in the process.

As a result, business now bear 43 percent of the tax load and homeowners 54 percent. In 2007, homeowners carried only 45 percent of the load and businesses 52 percent.

But that’s enough, Hamilton said. “Keep the share where it is now.” All  indicators show a strong business climate in the city and further increases will hurt residents unfairly, he said. “Businesses will not succeed if the y don not have people living here who can work for them and buy their products.”