Vancouver city council has made it official: Homeowners will be hit with a property tax increase of eight per cent this year, more than double the increase approved just last month.
Vancouver's ruling Non-Partisan Associationvoted at Thursday's council meeting to cap property tax rates for businesses at last year's levels, which means homeowners will be hit withthe largest tax increase in decades.
Businesses, small and large,will payno increase.
That means homeowners will pay almost the entire property tax increase this year—a hike ofeight per cent, or about $116 a year for the average home.
The move by the NPA is meant to help correct an imbalance that has business owners taxed at about six times the rate of residential property owners.
The chair of the city's finance committee, Coun. Peter Ladner, said the businesspeople deserve the break.
"This has been a problem that has been ongoing for years. It's been getting worse and worse.
"It's a very difficult political decision, but I think it's the right thing to do, and we have to send a signal that Vancouver values healthy businesses in our community."
Ladner said that while the decision may not be popular with homeowners, it will ensure that Vancouver doesn't turn into a resort town with no employment base.
The opposition Vision Vancouver councillors had wanted council to hold off on the decision, as the public has not had a chance to comment on the changes.
But the NPA said that was just a way of having someone else make the decision and take the political hit.