The mayor of Vancouver is hovering over the idea of introducing what he calls a “progressive” tax to support the Vancouver City’s Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP).
Kennedy Stewart states that such a tax will take effect in 2022 with the aim of raising $ 100 million over 10 years to fund the local government’s climate change initiatives.
Few details are available at the moment, but a tax can be implemented, for example, as a supplement to the amount of property tax paid.
Stewart did not provide further details in today’s announcement, but he is expected to move the proposal details forward early next month when the Vancouver City Council meets to debate and make a decision on the city government’s 2022 budget.
The Provincial School Tax, TransLink Metro Vancouver Regional District, Municipal Finance Authority and BC Assessment also receive a portion of the property tax, separate from the portion of the property tax that goes to the City of Vancouver. These five other tax authorities consider their additions to the property tax as taxes.
“Last year, our council unanimously approved a plan to respond to the climate crisis that would put Vancouver on track to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” Stewart said in a statement.
“That’s why I’m announcing my proposal for a new progressive climate response tax to ensure that Vancouver’s climate action plan will succeed by putting our money where our mouths are.”
He suggests that this tax would provide a stable source of revenue to fund CEAP of $ 500 million, which would help Vancouver reduce its greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030.
In November 2020, the City Council approved the city staff’s CEAP, which consists of 32 wide-ranging initiatives of varying scope, such as the implementation of more bus lanes, cycle lanes, charging stations for electric vehicles, reducing dependence on fossil fuels for energy and improving buildings’ energy efficiency.
CEAP also includes the controversial policy of implementing mobility fares, such as tolls, for the Vancouver Peninsula and the Central Broadway Corridor. City staff have set aside $ 1.5 million to work with a contractor to identify opportunities for implementation by the middle of this decade. Preliminary estimates set mobility rates at a one-time installation and technology acquisition cost of about $ 250 million, with the system generating revenue of between $ 50 million and $ 80 million annually when operational.
In addition, CEAP entailed another controversial plan to introduce mandatory parking permits for all residential streets from the beginning of 2022, which should also serve to raise revenue for the various climate action initiatives. The plan for parking permits was narrowly rejected by the city council in early October 2021, with Stewart casting the decisive vote in the opposition.
The City Council’s budget discussions next month will focus on city staff’s proposed $ 1.7 billion operating budget and spending measures for 2022, while maintaining an average property tax increase of no more than 5% for the year. This also follows successive annual property tax increases in recent years.