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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson promised short-term solutions last fall - three months later we have not heard anything even close to a plan

Todd Stone, Official Opposition Critic for Municipal Affairs and Housing, is continuing his call for the NDP government and Housing Minister Selina Robinson to immediately implement legislation that will enable local governments to allow for split-zoning, before more small businesses are forced to close their doors due to skyrocketing property taxes.

This past fall I introduced legislation that would provide tax relief to small businesses who are currently struggling to make ends meet as they are being forced to pay a tax on the unused airspace above their heads,” says Stone.

Minister Robinson promised to implement short-term solutions last fall, yet nearly three months later we have not heard anything even close to a plan from her.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a report on Monday that calls for immediate action from the province and shares stories of the many small businesses struggling under the burden of outrageous property taxes. CFIB estimates that the average small business owner in Metro Vancouver saw their property assessment increase 87 per cent in the last five years.

Being taxed, for the air above their business, is not the only issue facing small businesses, however.

According to the Fraser Institute, a recent study “Who Bears the Burden of Property Taxes in Canada’s Largest Metropolitan Areas?” by Josef Filipowicz and Steven Globerman, finds that ...

... in most cities, commercial and industrial tax rates are typically higher than residential rates and sometimes by relatively large amounts. For example, in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, industrial property tax rates can be 10-to-20 times higher than residential rates in some communities.

Meantime, stated Stone, “Split-zoning legislation would mean that hardworking small business owners would no longer have to pay a tax on the unused airspace above their heads, and as such, they would see their property tax bills drop dramatically”.

The NDP government needs to act now to address the issue of rapidly rising property taxes on unused airspace before we risk losing more arts groups, non-profits, and small businesses, all of which play vital roles in our communities”, concluded Kamloops South Thompson MLA Todd Stone.


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