NEWS — A recent economic impact study by Venture Kamloops strengthens the case for lowering major industries’ share of the tax burden, say industry representatives.
“We found the points raised in the analysis of the community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of particular interest,” says a letter from Arclin, Domtar, Lafarge and Tolko to City council.
“Of particular interest was the finding that an overall weakness was the ‘high property tax rate for heavy industry, light industry and commercial in comparison to other B.C. communities.'”
The letter points out that the industrial tax rate in Kamloops of $79 per $1,000 assessed property value is much higher than the provincial average of $40 per $1,000.
It asks for a “rebalance” of taxation “in order to ensure Kamloops is a competitive location for the 690 industrial jobs we provide in our operations and the 1,725 related jobs in the city and region.”
The letter was written prior to council budget discussions in which it decided to proceed with an application to include New Gold’s underground New Afton mine within City boundaries, which would increase the industrial tax base and reduce the contributions of those industries already inside the City.
In the interim, council decided to freeze the heavy industry rate, which will have the effect of reducing industrial taxes by about $250,000 due to a drop in assessed values.
Milobar has also said a $40 rate isn’t realistic but $55 might be possible over time.
The letter from the four industries, dated March 10, is earmarked for action on Tuesday’s council agenda, meaning council will decide how to respond.