City Council Unanimously Supports Resolution to Address Municipal-Provincial Fiscal Imbalance

Vancouver City Council today unanimously supported a motion from Councillor Peter Ladner asking the provincial government to address the current municipal-provincial fiscal imbalance. The motion is further to Mayor Sam Sullivan’s pre-budget submission to the provincial government – delivered last month to the Minister of Finance.

The following is a copy of the approved motion:

Whereas on Friday, October 26th Metro Vancouver unanimously endorsed a motion calling upon the provincial government to address the municipal fiscal imbalance;

And whereas prior to 1997, the Revenue Sharing Act provided for a sharing of provincial revenues with municipal governments on an unconditional basis.

And whereas a share of provincial sales tax, corporate income tax and resource revenues was transferred annually to municipalities.

And whereas in 1997, the previous Provincial Government eliminated these transfers, forcing municipalities to increase their reliance on property taxes.

And whereas with the federal and provincial fiscal position greatly improved, it would be appropriate to reconsider this approach.

And whereas this program could make over $300 million available annually to municipalities in the province and approximately $40 million for Vancouver;

And whereas compared to growing provincial and federal surpluses, municipalities across Canada are struggling.

And whereas where senior levels of governments are able to reduce taxes, the burden on municipal taxpayers is growing as municipalities take on increasing responsibilities in social housing, child care, arts and culture, social services, transportation and regional policing.

And whereas to meet these increased service demands and a growing infrastructure deficit, municipalities have been left with little choice but to increase property and business taxes and user fees.

And whereas other revenue sources available to municipalities cannot fill the gap between growing costs to service our citizens and a sustainable level of property taxation.

And whereas municipal revenues have not kept up with federal and provincial growth.

And whereas at the same time, payments from the Provincial and Federal Governments now comprise a smaller portion of the overall revenues of many municipalities.

And whereas this decline is in contrast to the rate of federal transfer payments to British Columbia.

And whereas since 2001, our province has benefited from billions of dollars of increases in federal transfer payments (CHST and Equalization entitlements).

And whereas in 2008-09, the federal payments to British Columbia are likely to increase even more.

Be it resolved that the Mayor and Council request the Province of BC take steps in their upcoming budget to address the Municipal Fiscal Imbalance by re-instating a revenue sharing program with municipalities – and that these revenues be stable over time and;

That a copy of this motion be distributed to all municipalities across B.C and;

That our upcoming Budget 2008 consultations with the public include information regarding the Municipal Fiscal Imbalance.