BC Liberals joined by business associations in continued calls to reduce small business tax burden

VICTORIA (November 26, 2019) – Official Opposition Critic for Housing Todd Stone was joined today by representatives from numerous business improvement associations and small business owners from throughout the Lower Mainland who are continuing their calls to amend the current “tax on air” that is causing huge tax spikes for local businesses, arts groups and non-profits.

“Small businesses and non-profits in the Lower Mainland are struggling under the burden of massive property tax bills because they are being forced to pay tax on the unused air above their heads,” says Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “Last month, I introduced legislation that would provide tax relief for small businesses struggling to survive because of this debilitating tax. Despite widespread support and the increasingly dire situation faced by many businesses, the government has so far failed to call our bill for debate.”

The Assessment (Split Assessment Classification) Amendment Act, 2019 would provide tax relief by allowing local governments to tax unused airspace above an existing business at a lower rate, instead of assessing based on highest and best use as is the current practice. This legislation is widely supported by local governments, small businesses, chambers of commerce, and business improvement associations.

“Businesses, non-profits, and community organizations in the Lower Mainland continue to struggle under the weight of sky-high property taxes, and immediate action on this issue is needed to prevent the further hollowing out of communities,” says Donna Hohl, President of the Kitsilano 4th Avenue BIA and local small business owner. “We cannot afford to have this legislation delayed any longer.”

“Community organizations and vital small businesses need tax relief as soon as possible, and this bill would provide some much-needed relief,” says Jane McFadden, Executive Director of the Kitsilano 4th Avenue BIA. “It is in the best interests of small businesses, communities, and governments alike to see split-assessment approved — continued delays will only lead to the closure of more cherished local businesses.”

“It is time for the government to take immediate action and provide the relief that so many small businesses and non-profits desperately need,” concludes Stone. “Arts groups, charities, and small businesses play invaluable roles in our communities, but if we fail to offer them the proper supports, we risk losing them forever.”

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