Re: Municipal finances at a point we're due for a tax decrease, Community Comment, April 6
There is very little municipalities can do to control property tax rates since it is their primary source of revenue and are not permitted to post a deficit.
We all utilize municipal services to some extent. Some households consume more than others, especially those with secondary suites. Therefore, it is only fair that all residents contribute something to the cost of public works.
The solution is the elimination of residential property taxes and replacement with a poll tax. Property taxes, of course, are only levied on property owners, which limits the revenue base.
A poll tax would apply to all resident adults and likely result in higher municipal revenue and force local governments to exercise greater restraint on expenditures.
The tax would have to be uniform to prevent wild variations in different municipalities.
Personal income tax reduction is always welcome, and the defeat of the HST was a triumph, but no initiative has been undertaken, as far as I know, to reform the most antiquated and punitive component of B.C.'s tax system.
The next government should take bold action. A good start would be for the province to exercise its statutory power to freeze property tax rates.