Vancouver property tax set to jump 5%, city points to Employer Health Tax

Vancouver could see a property tax increase in the coming year. MediaForMedical/UIG via Getty Images

Vancouver’s new city council will review the city’s 2019 budget on Tuesday, including a property tax hike of nearly five per cent.

The city says a sizable chunk of that increase is due to the province’s new Employer Health Tax (EHT), meant to fund the elimination of MSP premiums.

READ MORE: Vancouver collects $21M from empty homes tax, expects $38M total for first year

If approved, the 4.9-per-cent increase would amount to an extra $41 next year for the median strata owner, an additional $108 for the median single-family homeowner and a tax hike of $193 for the median business property owner.

City of Vancouver
City of Vancouver. City of Vancouver

The city said it arrived at the 4.9 per cent figure by factoring inflation (2.2 per cent), new infrastructure included in the 2019-2022 capital plan (one per cent) and paying for EHT (1.7 per cent).

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“While this is an increased cost to the city in 2019, the city can expect a marginal positive financial impact in 2020 upon the elimination of MSP premiums,” states a city budget document.

The EHT, which was formally approved in October, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, while MSP won’t be be eliminated until a year later on Jan. 1, 2020.

READ MORE: B.C. government introduces legislation to bring in speculation tax, employer health tax

Property taxes aren’t the only thing in the budget set to climb.

The budget proposes a combined utility fee hike of 8.7 per cent, which would amount to an additional $119 per year for the median single-family homeowner and an additional $115 per year for the median business property.

Recreation fees are also slated to jump two per cent, while permit fees could rise by 12 per cent or more.

Overall, the city is proposing a 2019 operating budget of $1.516 billion along with $371 million in new capital spending to “address aging city infrastructure and amenities.”

The operating budget also includes new spending of  $7.7 million for housing supply and affordability, $7.7 million to “improve and maintain” service levels, $5.4 million for public safety, $3.7 million in arts and culture funding and $3.2 million to “provide safe and healthy workspaces and public spaces.”

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You can view the full budget here.

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