A coalition of businesses is calling on Vancouver city council to lower commercial property taxes, and boost taxes on homeowners to make up the difference.
The Fair Tax Coalition says it represents 50,000 businesses and business groups – including the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.
The Coalition says commercial property owners currently pay five times the tax rate of residential owners – and argue that's too high.
It says a family with a home in Vancouver valued at $650,000 will pay about $4,500 a year in in taxes – and that a business assessed with the same property value will pay nearly $20,000.
Leonard Schein of the Point Grey Village Business Improvement Association says that difference is unfair.
"Over time, the tax burden imposed upon the small independent businesses is such that it's creating grave hardships, and allowing unfair advantages for the other municipalities surrounding Vancouver."
Schein says the Coalition wants Vancouver council to lower commercial rates gradually over the next 20 years, so that businesses are only paying three times the property tax rate of homeowners.
He estimates that residential tax bills would have to be raised about $50 a year to make up the difference.
The Fair Trade Coalition plans to go before council Thursday to plead its case.