NEWS: Vision’s Tax Shift Lacks Support
By Think City Staff
Think City's fourth Citizen Budget Survey shows that Vancouver residents are opposed to city council's controversial tax shift that cuts taxes for businesses while shifting a larger share of the tax burden on to homeowners. While sympathetic to the concerns of small business, a clear majority of respondents believe the tax shift policy is not fair and want the city to look at alternatives.
Think City's Citizen Budget survey also shows a majority of Vancouver citizens support maintaining civic services, yet city council is proposing cuts to parks, libraries, fire and rescue, civic grants, cultural services and other city departments.
"City council will soon be voting on whether to make cuts to libraries, civic grants, and parks and recreation," said Think City Chair Neil Monckton. "Before they vote to cut frontline service, the mayor and all ten councillors need to look at all the options, including additional revenues and cuts in wasteful spending at city hall."
"Think City surveyed nearly 2,200 citizens through its web site over the past four weeks, and the message we heard from the public was clear - the vast majority said they do not want cuts to city services," said Monckton. "Vancouver citizens place a high value on their libraries, cultural services, community centres, parks, streets and protective services. They told us they're willing to pay a little more to maintain quality public services."
"Citizens are also telling us it's time to end the business tax holiday that was started when Vancouver's economy was roaring under Mayor Sam Sullivan in 2008," said Monckton. "We are asking city council to defer the two per cent tax shift from businesses to residents for 2010 and instead raise taxes across the board by three to five percent. The city needs to spread the burden fairly between all taxpayers in these tough economic times - that's just fair."
"When the public freely gives city council their time to let them know their concerns about civic matters, they need to feel they have been listened to," said Monckton. "Vision Vancouver promised a new, more open and transparent approach to community engagement. We hope they will listen to what citizens are telling them at tonight's special budget hearing."
The detailed results of Think City's Citizen Budget survey will be presented to Mayor Robertson and city council.