Nobody in Prince Rupert disputes that the 3700 direct jobs and wages from the port-related economy have a positive economic impact. If not for the growth of port industries, our community would still be stuck in a decades-long spiral of economic decline.
However, it's possible to be thankful for the amazing economic benefits that port growth has brought while still recognizing that it has come at a cost to our community.
This campaign is not anti-port or anti-development... we are pro-fairness.
Nobody wants to see our community pitted against each other based on a decision made in Victoria nearly 20 years ago. The sole focus of this petition is to convince the Province to finally take action.
We all want to see the port continue to grow – just not at our expense.
The Port Tax Cap was supposed to be a temporary 5 year incentive to spur investment. In hindsight, that goal has been achieved. But there have been serious unintended consequences from it being made permanent.
While residential and business assessments rise year after year, port terminals are allowed to depreciate. Every year, property taxes go down for port terminals that don't make new investments, while your taxes go up on homes and small businesses to make up the shortfall.
According to a report commissioned by the Province, rail & road connections weigh much more heavily in location decisions than property tax rates.
How is it possible that even with the 3rd largest port in Canada, Prince Rupert still has some of the highest taxes in the Province? This unfortunate trend will continue as long as port industries do not pay their fair share of taxes.
BC taxpayers are also forced to partially subsidize port communities because of the huge amounts of lost port industry tax revenues. This is now costing the provincial treasury millions per year.
In Prince Rupert, owners of tax-capped port properties are multinational corporations with hundreds of billions in annual revenues, most with foreign-based headquarters.
In 2004 when the Port Tax Cap was first enacted, Prince Rupert lost more tax revenue than any other City in the entire Province, including places like North Vancouver. Prince Rupert alone made up 30% of the net tax loss across the entire province.
Without enough money to invest in housing, downtown or other amenities, the Port Tax Cap is making it harder for our rural/remote community to attract and retain people. If the housing & labour shortage are allowed to get much worse, the chances of port terminal automation is boosted. Also, there are no prohibitions against automation or job cuts to qualify for the Port Tax Cap.
According to a report commissioned by the Province, even in Vancouver's sky-high real estate market approaching $7 million per acre, property taxation was found to be insignificant in their competitiveness.
According to a report commissioned by the Province, only 5.4 cents of every $1 invested by capped ports in BC is taxable. Plus, property taxes only make up 1.6% of their operating costs.
American politicians in Washington consider the Port of Prince Rupert as a threat. They view the BC tax situation as being "somewhat of a free ride". Some have even threatened to add retaliatory countervails on every container transported through BC ports to the USA.
According to a report commissioned by the Province, linking land values to the Consumer Price Index is the main reason that municipal taxes have grown so slowly.
In BC, municipalities are unable to charge certain port properties more than $22.50 per $1000 in assessed value.
The Ports Property Tax Act was adopted by the BC Liberals in 2004 with a scheduled end in 2009 which they later made permanent.
A privately-held multinational corporation with 78 global ports generated $10.8 billion in revenue last year. DP World is controlled by Dubai’s royal family with HQ in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Source: Reuters; the Guardian
Sold by our federal government in 2019 for $350 million to Riverstone Holdings, a private equity firm based in New York which has raised over $40 billion with “a sole mission to deliver strong returns to investors”, and American Metals & Coal International, a privately-held multinational corporation based in Conneticut with $6 billion in annual revenue.
Sources: Transport Canada; GlobeNewsWire; Riverstone Holdings; AMCI
Owned by several businesses, including:
Sources: World-Grain; Reuters; Forbes; Slice; Statistica
Acquired by the Drax Group in 2021, a publicly traded multinational corporation with $5.1 billion in annual revenue with HQ in the United Kingdom.
Source: GlobeNewsWire; Drax.com
Therefore, port industries pay less taxes almost every year while your taxes are forced higher to make up the difference.
The Port Authority signed an agreement with the City to jointly advocate for solutions to the Province. However, an FOI request has revealed that instead of jointly advocating to the Province for a fix for Prince Rupert, the Port Authority has been "emphatically urging" no changes, and even asking for more terminals to be included.
The taxes that AltaGas & Pembina are currently paying cover the City's new RCMP station loan and helped double the roads budget. If propane terminals were exempted, it would amount to an approximate 20% tax increase on homeowners and small businesses.
When telling the Province to include propane terminals in the Port Tax Cap, the Port Authority said to the Province that "𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙨𝙞𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙖𝙧 𝙛𝙪𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙞𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙋𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙨 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙮 𝙏𝙖𝙭 𝘼𝙘𝙩 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙗𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙧𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙜𝙤𝙖𝙡𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙘𝙩."
In other words, they want Vopak to also be included in the Port Tax Cap.
Based on the Province's own independent analysis and Prince Rupert's current tax rates, this could cost our community more than $1.5 million per year in lost taxes that could be invested in fixing our roads, sidewalks, and sewers. That's more than the City's entire annual roads budget!