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.

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.

Just Posted

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

More people in Chiliwack coming in to shelters to get out of the cold

Ruth and Naomi’s went over-capacity this week to accommodate shelter guests coming in from the cold

Agassiz break and enter suspect arrested

The Chilliwack man faces charges relating to break and enters throughout Agassiz

Outdoor rink, lagoon improvements on the agenda for Harrison

The projects are intended to increase tourism numbers and infrastructure in the resort village

Chilliwack parent urges fellow dog owners to keep Fido off school grounds

Risks of harmful encounters between kids on and dogs are too high, says Chilliwack mom

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Prominent B.C. realtor says he doesn’t know how child porn got on his computer

Closing arguments heard in Ian Meissner’s Chilliwack trial for accessing, possessing child porn

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Most Read