Thursday, March 21, 2024

Provincial Government Says "No" to Reducing Wild Property Tax Swings

A Housing in Langley City

Over the past several decades, Langley City Council has advocated for the provincial government to establish two residential property tax classes. The problem in Langley City is that attached and detached housing change value at different rates. When the City increases property tax, sometimes detaching housing owners will see a decrease in City-control property tax while attached housing owners will see a massive increase (or vice versa). Two residential property tax classes would reduce these wild swings.

For more information, please read my post titled "One residential mill rate causes uneven property tax changes in Langley City. Find out why."

Langley City Council has advocated via the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and Union of BC Municipalities for the province to have two residential property tax classes. Since I've been on Council, we have received support from the majority of other local governments in the Lower Mainland and BC four times to press the province to create two residential property classes.

Whether former BC Liberal or current NDP governments, the response has always been "no" from the province.

The following is the latest "no" response from the provincial government a few weeks ago.

The market relationship between single family detached) and attached properties may vary year over year and can also be impacted by local and regional factors. Over the last decade, single family dwellings have increased in value more than multi-family dwellings, largely due to rising land values.
Although implementing residential property sub-classes would allow for a more targeted approach to taxation, it would add further complexity to the assessment process and may lead to inconsistency across the province where municipalities differ their approach in applying tax rates.
Government is committed to support people throughout BC and to improve housing affordability for those who need it most. Providing local governments with the tools to shift the tax burden from single family detached homes to denser housing such as condos or townhomes would not align with provincial priorities of affordability or support a progressive tax system.
BC has more property classes than most provinces and is not actively considering creating new property classes.

I disagree that introducing two residential property tax classes would shift taxes to homeowners like myself and most people in Langley City who live in attached housing (multi-family.) Regardless, we've received different "reasons" from various provincial governments over the years on why they don't want to do this.

Over the past two decades, Langley City Council has put in much advocacy effort to help smooth out property tax swings for people in our community. In politics, it's important to understand when you are flogging a dead horse. Getting two residential property tax classes is a dead horse.

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