Names to remember for the next municipal election

If you’re a home owner and pay property taxes in Prince Rupert these are the names to mark on your list for next time. While we spend 100,000 a month on a pulp mill site and pick fights in the courts, they seem to believe that you have a bottomless pit of money to work with. … 70104.html

“Councillors Gordon-Payne, Bedard and Gina Garon voted in favour. Mayor Jack Mussallem broke the tie with his vote for the tax shift.”

Surprise!  They voted not to raise business taxes, but rather residential taxes instead!

Meanwhile, the City’s largest asset, Citywest, is investing in Kitimat.

High 5’s all around.

Great to have Northwest BC’s Cable and Internet access subsidized by the residential taxpayers of Prince Rupert! 

Well, to be fair, Prince Rupert already has the highest business taxes in the province, right?  Somebody’s gotta subsidize the Watson Island site, and keep the lawyers (and Bill Belsey) paid.

And Citywest just increased the price of doing business in Rupert itself when it raised its business rates.  Presumably this was to pay for their Kitimat adventures.

This isn’t a case of residential versus business taxpayers.  Both are being screwed.

So, I’ve heard … but where will Rupert stand in the business tax rankings after the “tax shift”? Will it drop from top 3 or 4, which Bedard alluded to, down to … what? … I doubt that anyone at the meeting could answer that.

Ashley is probably right when she said that it’s probably not enough to make a difference. The point seems to be that without a clear objective there shouldn’t be a change.

Thorkelson also had a point when she said that business taxation should be part of a wider discussion about utilities and parking. Charging businesses parking levies … so that customers can continue to park on the street rather than at non-existent city parking lots downtown … is a disincentive to new businesses … the main rationale seemed to be that’s what other (more prosperous) cities do.

Speaking of discussions, what advice did the council get? Here’s what CFO Dan Rodin recommended in his report (it’s on the city web site) …

“In response to the local economy, there has been some discussion about shifting a portion of the property tax burden from Business Class taxpayers to Residential Class taxpayers.”

Where was that “discussion”? A business delegation complained about development permits and parking at a council meeting, but the Northern View article on that didn’t mention a tax shift. Did the idea come up at a public forum? At a social function somewhere? Who knows?

Bedard wants a “positive business environment” but she’s supported decisions that the business delegation complained about.

I agree with your conclusion, but I think the problem is that issues aren’t considered very thoroughly … or consistently … business taxes will be $35 lower for every $100K of assessed value as a result of a tax shift, but a new business has to pay a $2000+ parking levy and costly downtown design guidelines have been introduced. 

There seems to be somethiing about Jack Mussallem’s leadership style that discourages thinking things through … decisions seem to be knee jerk at times … all part of his “kick ass” style perhaps.