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BC: Another Tax Hike on the Way in Vanccouver

December 06, 2016
BC: Another Tax Hike on the Way in Vanccouver

Vancouver city councillor George Affleck has a piece in today’s Vancouver Sun, sounding the alarm on yet another tax increase in Vancouver:

This year, we will see one of the highest property tax increases in Vision’s eight-year reign of error: A 3.4-per-cent increase for residents, plus, averaged out, another 1.2 per cent increase in various fees, including water, sewer, and solid waste — the big three. That works out to a total tax increase of 4.6 per cent, more than twice the current rate of inflation.

If you look back a little over 10 years ago to 2005, the city’s Annual Financial Report (the only place you can find anything close to line item budget info from City Hall these days) shows that Vancouver taxpayers handed over a combined total of $622 million to the city in property taxes and related penalties and utility fees. That money paid for roughly 75 per cent of the city’s operating expenses.

Now, jump ahead 10 years to 2015 and look at those same four budget items: property taxes and utility fees (water, sewer and garbage). The total take is $937 million. Nearly a billion dollars to pay for roughly 75 per cent of the city’s operating expenses!

When you compare 2005 to 2015, it works out to a total revenue increase from property taxes and utility fees of $315 million. If you convert the 2005 numbers into today’s dollars, you will discover that it works out to a 30-per-cent increase in tax and fee revenue for the city in just 10 years.

Now, the mayor and Vision might argue that this revenue increase is justified because of population increase. This is patently untrue. 

The population of Vancouver has only gone up by 10 per cent in the same 10-year period. This means revenue from property taxes and utility fees has outstripped population growth by a factor of three to one.

There’s no doubt that Mayor Gregor Robertson loves to spend your money. Affleck leaves out one other damning statistic: the number of people making $100,000 a year at Vancouver City Hall DOUBLED this year. That’s right, 1,327 people made six figures from taxpayers last year – up from 617 the year before.

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