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Help us to stop the 'out of control property tax increases' in Vancouver

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 PETITION:  RE PROPERTY TAX INCREASES

TO OUR ESTEEMED LEADERS:

Please let this letter serve as our appeal to the inequitable property tax assessments for the following reasons:

Many local small businesses and art spaces will be closing this year if action is not taken. We request that the city of Vancouver and the province of BC intervene to prevent such closures which are primarily due to out-of-control property tax increases. Taxes on our local spaces have gone up in some cases  25-30 plus  percent in the last 3 years! Too many small spaces are preparing to permanently close their doors while waiting for the annual doomsday mill rate announcements as triple nets soar. Our city is fast being converted to condominiums, big-box stores, and fast food chains.

Factually, the annual assessments and increase in property taxes are not just high, they are out of control! These tax increases are breaking the backs of all small business owners and operators. They are being driven by the sky-high property assessments caused because government took action on the influx of global capital much too late and then allowed for property tax assessments to be issued during these peak insane hot market value times.

 Councillors and other policy makers need to be mindful of how the average Vancouverite is already being squeezed by existing and often undue financial pressures and that the added property tax increase comes at the worst possible time. Action must be taken. Such action is in the best interests of all of Vancouver residents, businesses, and will greatly influence our choices in the next election.

More so, the funding model surrounding property taxes is emphatically flawed and desperately in need of change. Why should taxes be driven by the price of an inflated piece of property? Taxes need to be assessed and based on the cost of services each neighbourhood receives from the municipal government, not solely influenced by relentless foreign investment and high-handed developers of luxury condominiums. 

 While our taxes have increased by what can only be called ludicrous amounts in recent years, the fact remains we are not seeing the added value in the neighbourhood that reflects these increases, and dare say we won’t see for many years to come. Most small businesses will not survive to see the future value when or if it ever does arrive. We are not ignorant to the fact the city needs revenues to operate the amenities and services for its residents. But year after year of unexplainable large increases in taxes will remove the incentive to own and operate a small business. It appears since nothing changes in amenities and services that help the small business person, it makes us question hard the uses and abuses of spending of those increased tax dollars.  Accountability of spending and apparent need for increases are not fully explained or understood. 

And lastly, why isn’t “buying local” a part of being our responsible green city? Why isn’t the City of Vancouver supporting its community by fostering a strategic plan surrounding the sustainability of its local companies? Keeping money circulating in our community and not in foreign companies, this builds a healthier place to live, and in turn, creates a cleaner planet. Has any consideration been given to recognize the differences between encouraging big business versus local business, and creating grant programs to assist small business and the arts communities?

Any candidate running for council who operates on a platform with community reciprocity and equitable property taxes in mind, will certainly lead with the voters’ share in the next election.  Furthermore, council persons who recognize the immediacy surrounding this petition will be sure to see the support of many more of its constituents in the ridings affected by this tax burden.

We demand attention, a response and that swift action be taken to this call out. 

The people of Vancouver.

 



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