B.C. experts to look at municipal taxes

An expert panel has been appointed to examine B.C.'s business taxes, including municipal taxes on industry.

A review of B.C. taxation will include municipal rates imposed on mills and other industrial customers.

A review of B.C. taxation will include municipal rates imposed on mills and other industrial customers.

An expert panel has been appointed to compare B.C.’s taxes with other places around the world that have attracted new investment, and the review will include industrial taxes imposed by local governments.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced the new panel at a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon Tuesday. It is to report back to the government by the end of August, after reviewing B.C.’s system of rebates, labour tax credits and other programs that affect business.

In interview after his speech, Falcon said former deputy minister of community and rural development Dale Wall was named to the group to examine tax rates on forest product mills and other industries. The B.C. government has made efforts before to address industrial rates, which in some communities are many times the residential rate.

Falcon said he does not intend to impose rate reductions on municipalities. The review is to compare B.C.’s tax system internationally and find ways to offset the impact on business from the return to the provincial sales tax that has to take place by the spring of 2013.

The review does not imply that the harmonized sales tax will disappear any earlier than planned, Falcon said.

“Obviously there’s a selfish political reason why I wish I could just publicly state we can beat that timeline,” he said. “But I can’t do that responsibly, so I won’t, and I’ll accept the criticism.”

In his speech to business leaders, Falcon also repeated his warning to public sector unions that there will be no new money in his upcoming budget to fund wage increases. Any raises for government workers would have to be funded from efficiencies found within other operations, he said.

Falcon wouldn’t comment directly on the B.C. Government Employees’ Union proposal to open liquor stores on Sundays to generate more revenue, but he left the door open for such solutions.

“What I want to see is savings that are real, and revenue generation that is real, that comes about as a result of improvements in productivity or how we do business, that we can then apply to modest wage increases,” he said.

Falcon also announced a new online budget simulator (www.gov.bc.ca/mybcbudget) where people can alter taxes or spending and see the result in actual figures from the province’s $40 billion operating budget.

He said the simulator is designed for public education, to “demystify the budget process” and show how every spending or tax increase affects the rest of the government.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

web
Spiritual senior begins journey as author, 3 years after near-fatal accident in Mission

Donna Gibbons to publish ‘Haunting in Hatzic,’ the 1st in a series on her life as a medium

File photo
Outdoor recreation generates close to $1 billion annually in Fraser Valley: report

Camping, hiking and sportfishing generate the most spending, report finds

Cherry Hill Elementary. Kevin Mills photo.
Cherry Hill Elementary parents heartbroken, angry over mid-year principal swap

PAC president says she doesn’t understand why it’s happening in the middle of a pandemic

On Nov. 20, the Mission Healthcare Auxiliary presented a cheque for $100,000 to the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation to go towards new lab equipment at Mission Regional Hospital. / Submitted Photo
Mission Healthcare Auxiliary presents $100,000 for lab equipment

Volunteers wanted to put the funds to work in a way that would benefit as many patients as possible

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

File
LETTER: Public should provide feedback on Mission’s proposed budget

Writer feels more community push back is needed to stop annual property tax increases

Most Read