An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
AT THE END of each year, we look forward to the coming year with optimism. How could it be any worse than the one we just had, we ask.
And then, no sooner are we done with New Year’ Eve fireworks and have finished singing Auld Lang Syne than the new property assessments are released. And so it is in 2023.
This year’s assessments are even more perplexing than usual. They’ve been boosted between five and 15 per cent, according to the B.C. Assessment Authority. My own humble rural property — with no sidewalks, no water or sewer service, and no garbage pickup — has been hiked by close to 18 per cent.
That probably means my taxes are going to go up more than the average, since properties with higher than average assessment increases are the ones that get hit at tax time.
I suppose we should all be pleased that we didn’t see a repeat of last year’s 27-per-cent increases in assessed values. But, no, it turns out this year’s increases actually peg our assessed property values above market value.
That’s because of the 2021-22 real estate boom, which didn’t wane until later in the year. The 2023 assessments are based on market values as of July 1 last year. Normally, that means assessed values lag behind market values but not this time.
So what’s the result? Looks to me as though many property owners could be paying tax this year on more than the actual value of their homes. Hardly a fair situation.
Meanwhile, the dream of home ownership continues to fade into the distance for those currently renting. Clearly, the NDP government’s claims to be making home ownership more affordable don’t stand up.
There’s one thing it could do to help — reject calls for an end to the Homeowner’s Grant and, instead, increase the grant to level the uneven playing field caused by these out-of-whack assessments.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.