Equitable Hospital Capital Taxation for British Columbia

Year: 
2016

A stated policy principle of the BC Chamber of Commerce Policy and Positions Manual is “government must ensure that taxes are:

Equitable – taxes should apply equally to all individuals or entities in similar circumstances; and

Broad-Based – spread over as wide as possible section of the population, or sectors of economy, as the case may be, to minimize the individual tax burden.”

Issue

Premier Christy Clark is quoted by Vaughn Palmer, July 10, 2015.

“In answer to the specific suggestion that the province should increase the annual operating subsidy for the regional transit system, she recalled how the Lower Mainland already enjoys a funding advantage over other regions on capital costs for hospitals.

Municipal taxpayers all over the province pay a tax for hospitals,” she noted, hearkening to a change that occurred under the previous New Democratic Party government. “People in the Lower Mainland don’t pay that tax ... It has always been the understanding that local governments would find a way to fund part of transit in the Lower Mainland because in the rest of the province local taxpayers pay for transit and hospitals.” 

Background

Metro Vancouver does not pay a hospital tax whereas the rest of British Columbia does. Initially Metro Vancouver was forgiven the Hospital Tax so that there could be an increase in the taxation to support the regional transit system.   As the taxation for transit has not been fully implemented, the Hospital Tax should be reinstated, once again ensuring that there is equal taxation throughout the province.

As well, there is inequity in how the tax is levied.

Hospital taxes are levied on assessed values of property, therefore subject to discrepancies between municipalities and even within a municipality. 

Hospital taxes are levied at a different rate for businesses than residential.  The business rate can be substantially higher.

THE CHAMBER RECOMMENDS:

That the Provincial Government reviews the B.C. hospital capital tax and transit property tax to ensure an equitable and fair taxation across the province.

Download (.pdf)