From Metro Vancouver & TransLink Update

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Metro to investigate provincial property tax equity

Less Metro homeowners qualify for grants, while northern and rural residents get extra carbon tax grant

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Facing unprecedented increases in property tax assessments across the region, the Metro Board in April directed staff to find out how much money is leaving the region through the provincial portions of property taxes. Directors are concerned that large numbers of Metro homeowners are no longer qualifying for the provincial homeowner grant even when living in relatively modest homes, while ‘mansions’ in some rural areas were qualifying under current criteria.

In addition, the province gives $200 more in homeowner grants to those in “northern and rural” areas. This is based on the assumption that rural British Columbians should pay less in property tax because they’re paying more carbon tax on the gas they need to drive. Directors worried that property tax revenue from the Metro region was in effect subsidizing other areas of the province, and want the report to include analysis of whether or not the region is receiving it’s fair share of benefits from the provincial portion of property taxes.

Burnaby Directors Derek Corrigan and Colleen Jordan noted that while 91% of British Columbians received the 2 homeowners’ grant, only 78% of their city’s homeowners will receive the homeowner’s grant this year. The Burnaby directors told the board that many of the Burnaby properties denied the grant have high value assessments, but are actually occupied by long-term, moderate-income owners with small houses.

The Board directed staff to update a 1988 GVRD study on the provincial share of property taxes, with the objective of bringing the report back to the Board by September 2016. Based on the findings of the report, the Board will likely seek discussions with the province over greater regional equity in property taxes.