March 03, 2023
A 10.7% property tax increase is a shocking start to ABC’s term in office, and a body blow to residents already struggling with unprecedented inflation, says TEAM for a Livable Vancouver.
Piling an additional 10.7% on top of the previous council’s increases of more than 23% over four years is opposite to how a TEAM-majority council would have approached the budget.
“TEAM believes that keeping the city affordable for residents is a key priority, and our first budget would have reflected that,” says TEAM president Cleta Brown. “It’s unconscionable for the new ABC council to just add the cost of its election promises to the already bloated budget of the previous, discredited council.”
TEAM would have done a comprehensive analysis of city finances and prioritized essential municipal services. During the 2022 campaign TEAM committed to conducting a thorough review of Vancouver’s operating and capital budgets to document where and why service costs have increased over the last decade. TEAM promised to develop benchmarks to measure service cost and value for money, and ensure each service provides a direct benefit to the city and its citizens.
There is no sign that Ken Sim and ABC have undertaken anything like this.
"People stampeded into voting ABC last fall out of fear of Kennedy Stewart had no idea that Ken Sim would more than double the 5% property tax increase Stewart had planned,” says Brown. “Sim and his ABC candidates posed as people who understood finances and would find efficiencies, but now we are seeing the truth, which will add hundreds of dollars to the tax bills of many residents and businesses, and pressure rents upwards.”
During the campaign, Sim criticized the previous council’s tax hikes, declaring his business background would mean he’d find ways of carrying out his election promises without increasing the budget. But when ABC added the cost of those promises, the tax increase shot up to 10.7%, the highest jump this century.
Business and residents will feel more pain in an already unaffordable city. “We cannot continue to add more and more costs to residents and expect that they’re going to be able to live here,” says former city councillor and TEAM mayoral candidate Colleen Hardwick.