City councillor “floored” by provincial position on sharing pot tax revenue

Gayle Martin says B.C. municipalities have to keep fighting to get their share

Langley City Councillor Gayle Martin said she was “floored” by a letter from provincial finance minister Carole James that suggests B.C. municipalities shouldn’t expect to see much tax revenue from legalized marijuana.

“I was absolutely astounded,” Martin told the March 19 meeting of council.

Council had just received a letter from James that said while the province and the federal government are still negotiating a revenue sharing agreement, B.C. isn’t expecting to see a lot of money.

“The federal and provincial governments intend to keep cannabis taxes low to support the objective of reducing illicit market activity,” James said in her March 12 letter.

“As such, it is expected that cannabis taxation revenues will not generate significant provincial revenues.”

James said the province recognizes marijuana legalization “will lead to additional costs for local governments,” adding “we will be able to have more informed discussions once full details of the regulatory and taxation regimes are known and governments have more certainty in terms of expected future costs and revenues.”

James was responding to a Jan. 18 email that was sent on behalf of the Langley council to the minister of municipal affairs and housing.

The City sent the email in support of a campaign by West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater for a formal revenue sharing agreement that would give 50 per cent of the provincial share of marijuana taxes to towns and cities.

Legalization will mean added costs, Findlater said, pointing to a Federation of Canadian Municipalities report that warns making marijuana legal could have an impact on policing, fire services, building codes, city planning, municipal licensing and standards, public health and more.

“It (legalized marijuana) is really going to tax a lot of our services,” Martin said, and predicted local taxpayers would be resistant to tax increases to cover those costs.

“All municipalities have to keep up the fight … to get a share of the revenue,” Martin said.

Langley City council approved a resolution in January that backed the West Kelowna proposal, that noted the “current discussions regarding revenue sharing of the tax revenue on cannabis sales involve the federal and provincial governments with no inclusion of local governments.”

READ MORE: Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Ottawa has agreed to split tax revenue from marijuana with the provinces and territories, with Ottawa keeping 25 per cent and provinces pocketing 75 per cent.

If Ottawa collects more than $100 million, anything above that ceiling will go to the provinces and territories.

The fine details of the agreement are still being worked out.

READ MORE: Feds propose legal weed tax of at least $1 per gram

The last federal budget referred to an agreement to keep cannabis taxes to $1 per gram or 10 per cent, whichever is higher.

“As part of this arrangement, it is the federal government’s expectation that a substantial portion of the revenues from this tax … provided to provinces and territories will be transferred to municipalities and local communities, who are on the front lines of legalization,” the budget stated.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Aldergrove celebrates Arbour Day: VIDEO

Trees were planted in memory of Langley Township’s community volunteers

PHOTOS: Christy Fraser Memorial underway in Langley

Over 700 athletes from across the province are attending

Fraser Health patients to see 23% hike in knee, hip replacement surgeries

New approach will see first-available surgeon waitlists

Stealth finish winless at Langley Events Centre

Vancouver pro lacrosse team finishes with 0-9 home record

VIDEO: After the trees fell: Hunter Park reopens in Langley City

The rebuilding of the park “has turned disaster into triumph,” mayor says

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Lucky Lotto winner in Aldergrove

$500,000 prize winner in Saturday’s Lotto 649 “Extra” draw

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Langley schools helping schools

Parents’ Advisory Councils work together for the children’s benefit

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

One person arrested after man killed in Vancouver

Police say this is Vancouver’s seventh murder of 2018

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Downtown roads closed for Vancouver Sun Run

Thousands of runners participate in the annual event

Most Read