Editorial: Tinkering with taxes

The latest tax increases in Langley City and Langley Township have some suggesting an across-the-board hike isn’t fair to all categories of home owners.

In the Township, where council approved a 3.99 per cent increase, the issue is rural-versus-urban because people living in single detached homes on larger rural lots can expect a bigger bill than their urban counterparts.

The City tax debate is about single family homes versus multiple-unit housing, where a 3.61 per cent increase will mean detached homes will pay more while owners of multi-unit pay less.

In the Township, where one member of council has raised objections, there has been no formal move to call for adjustments to the way taxes are assessed, while in the City, a majority of council members voted to make another attempt to change the way taxes are collected in the name of fairness.

It isn’t an easy process.

The provincial government would have to approve the change, and before that happens, the other municipalities in B.C. would have to get behind the idea.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) hasn’t rushed to embrace the notion of ending across-the-board tax increases to allow different rates for different types of housing.

A Langley City proposal to create different provincial tax categories for single-family houses and multiple-family strata units was voted down by the UBCM at last year’s Victoria conference after the UBCM Resolutions Committee recommended against it.

The steep rise in housing costs may be leading some municipalities to reconsider their opposition, however.

They’ve been in touch with the City, which is what led to the council decision to take another run at winning support.