Coquitlam looks to B.C. to share the tax

file photo Jeremy Shepherd

If the province makes more dough, municipalities should get a bigger slice of pie.

That’s the gist of a motion Coquitlam plans to take to the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference this September.

The motion, which council unanimously approved June 19, is inspired by a sales tax transfer from Quebec’s provincial government to the province’s municipalities.


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That approach to taxation, which allows cities in Quebec to take advantage of the province’s economic performance, should be implemented in British Columbia, according to Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart.

Income tax is generally used to support programs related to poverty and equity, Stewart said. However, municipalities don’t get a share of income tax.

“We get those programs downloaded on us without the ability to fund them through those economic tools,” Stewart said.

The extra money would help municipalities: “address the costs associated with the housing crisis, climate change and infrastructure sustainability,” according to a city staff report.

During an “exhilarating presentation about fiscal reform and finance” at a Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference, a Quebec mayor detailed the program’s success, according to Coun. Dennis Marsden.

“It ensures it gets what we need and that’s a review of additional revenue lines . . . to ensure that we can deliver the services and infrastructure that our residents need for now and the future.”

The initiative should get support from most municipalities at UBCM, “if not unanimous support,” Marsden added.

Coun. Matt Djonlic agreed.

“Over the years, the decades really, what municipalities have been responsible for has evolved,” he said. “It’s time that the tools . . . to fund those services also evolve.”

The 2023 UBCM convention is set to begin Sept. 18. If endorsed, the resolution will go to the provincial government.

“We look forward to seeing the province adopt this with enthusiasm,” Stewart said.


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