December 18, 2018 11:08 pm

Vancouver city councillor proposes shifting property tax burden from businesses to property owners

Vancouver city council is set to vote on its proposed budget on Thursday.

Bayne Stanley/CP
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As Vancouver city council debates its proposed budget Thursday, one city councillor wants to make some changes to the proposed property tax hike in order to help local businesses.

NPA Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung tabled a motion Thursday asking to explore shifting two per cent of the fixed property tax levy from business to residential, saying retail shops are suffering in the current market.

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“It’s become increasingly difficult to operate, particularly for small businesses in the city,” Kirby-Yung said. “We are losing a lot of heart and soul in neighbourhoods that way.

“This [tax shift] is something that [business improvement associations] advocated for on behalf of their business members, specifically for this and specifically in this amount.”

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Council ultimately voted to pass the motion, which directs staff to come back with a report on the shift by April.

Council is already considering a 4.9-per-cent property tax hike for residents, which Kirby-Yung said she does not support. She’s also asking staff to take a second look at that proposal and hopes cutting it down would make room for her proposed tax shift.

READ MORE: Small business owners facing huge tax bill hope Vancouver mayoral candidates will help

Kirby-Yung said she would also ask staff at Thursday’s council meeting to look for more savings in the proposed budget to further help alleviate the 4.9-per-cent tax hike or hold off on approving that budget.

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