When port industries pay their fair share of taxes, we can invest more in the critical infrastructure that we all depend on everyday like water & roads.
To the Honourable Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, in Legislature Assembled:
We, the undersigned petitioners and citizens of the Province of British Columbia, call on the Government of British Columbia and the Legislative Assembly to amend the Ports Property Tax Act [SBC 2004] as soon as possible to reinstate a sunset clause, or exempt the City of Prince Rupert.
The legislation was instituted in 2004 as a temporary incentive to spur port investment. In hindsight, that goal has been achieved.
Granting your petitioners request will have numerous benefits: 1) the tax burden will no longer be unfairly shifted from port industries to homeowners and small businesses, 2) the provincial treasury will save millions, 3) taxpayers will no longer subsidize wealthy multinational corporations, 4) the risk of trade war with the USA can be avoided, 5) municipal tax autonomy will be restored, and 6) port properties will finally pay their fair share of property taxes to support vital investments in community.
For all of these reasons, your petitioners respectfully request that the Honourable House amend the Ports Property Tax Act [SBC 2004] as soon as possible to reinstate a sunset clause, or exempt the City of Prince Rupert.
"The tax cap was a well-intentioned incentive to encourage port industries to establish themselves in Prince Rupert, and were successful in that effort. But the success of the Port means we no longer need to incentivize port industries to develop here. And the continuation of the cap now accomplishes the opposite of its intended effect: by restricting the City's ability to tax its largest industry, it is creating real risks to the industries that the City's infrastructure supports".
"We need equitable, regional policy that helps keep wealth that is made in the community IN the community. Everyone is impacted by a lack of financial contribution from industries that make profit off the labour of Prince Rupert community members then extract that money from the communities themselves. Not only does this burden fall on 'tax-payers', but also on renters and all community members who use and supports essential community services, homeowners, and businesses. Make port industries accountable to their employees, the communities that support them, and the land that they occupy."
"I feel the tax cap is no longer necessary."
"The community of Prince Rupert has been needing the extra income that these corporations could be providing, if they were accountable to pay their share of taxes. Our infrastructure is falling apart. We cannot keep this up."
"I was born and raised in Prince Rupert and am deeply saddened every time I return to see the state of this once vibrant well maintained town. Do the right thing and scrap the tax cap!"
"The extra stress put on locals because of the break they give to the big guys is exhausting on locals. This needs to change, they need to contribute more."
"The system favours big multinational corporate business over the people who live here and make this community work. Let's flip the system and give Prince Rupert the chance to thrive as a port city."
"I’ve lived in Prince Rupert my whole life 32 years and I’ve been here when we were in decline and when there was nothing here. I’ve seen the resilience of our people and how strong we are. To find out the government has legislation like this to try to keep us in our place is disgusting."
"There is no sustainable future for a community in disrepair if they can't afford to keep workers and small business in the local area open and thriving".
"Prince Rupert has already battled with the hugely expensive mess left behind due to first the closure and then the sale of the pulp mill that left our finances in tatters. Big industry does provide jobs, and they do contribute to the community, but a fair taxation strategy that does not rest disproportionately on homeowners and small businesses is the only possible way for our town as a whole to move successfully into the future. We still have a whole lot of expensive deferred infrastructure maintenance and replacement to catch up on, and need the revenue from reasonable taxes paid by industries that utilize that infrastructure."
"Canadian Marine Ports exist because of the infrastructure provided by taxpayers of the communities that they do business in. Why is the burden on the community to pay full taxes when the Ports only pay less?"
"The port can afford to give back to our city in a fair way, as it should be. I believe it will have such a positive impact on our community as a whole making prince Rupert more aesthetically pleasing for locals and tourists."
"With as much development and industry as we have here I feel that we should not be suffering with poor water and lack of facilities in the manner that we do."
"We should be one of the wealthiest communities in Canada - it's a shame that we are continually being taken advantage of."
"Make corporations pay their share of taxes."
"It shouldn't exist in the first place these guys are multi billion dollar industry and they can easily afford to pay their fair share."
"Government needs to scrap the cap AND real establish lines of accountability back to the community."
"How can they attract workers to our region when our downtown is derelict? How is it fair to expect residents to pay infrastructure and development costs when they are rich with revenue. Spread the wealth and give our community the fair share."
"This is well overdue for Prince Rupert. Every other town that has big industry is supported in a big way financially by those industries that have established themselves in the community. It only makes sense for them to give back to the community to help sustain a healthy work/play environment for everyone who lives there, not just the people employed directly by the big companies. Waterfront companies have been taking advantage of Prince Rupert for too long and it's about time they finally give back to the community that supports them."
"I’ve been here my whole life born and raised three generations. I’ve been here during Prince Rupert‘s decline, when we had nothing and to see our peoples resilience to try and bounce back only to have the government try to keep us in our place… I’m not having it!"
"They have blocked access to a majority of our waterfront. Time to help make improvements in other parts of the city to make up for it."
"I don't understand how it is possible that these industries can make the kind of profits they generate using our services and infrastructure and pay as little as they do in taxes."
"Don't these companies want to live in a city that has good roads, sidewalks, recreation facilities, and housing that's affordable for everyone?"
"Port business should not be at the expense of residential homeowners and commercial businesses who are shouldering the majority of the costs to keep this industry subsidized."
"I’m all for having industry in our small towns, but the tax cap means that all the wealth that they bring into the community remains stratified."
"It is effectively stifling the city and residents of Prince Rupert from needed growth and development, creating undue hardships on families and businesses. Please do away with the tax cap."
"The only development that the Port Tax Cap may have helped come to fruition is the DP World container port. However, it’s been said that it was built due to its geographic proximity to Asian markets and I’ve never heard that it was because of a great deal on taxes."
"The port tax cap hasn’t resulted in Westpac LNG, Canpotex, BG Group, PNW LNG or Vopak making positive FID’s yet industries that existed pre-port tax cap, such as PR Grain and Ridley Terminals (Trigon) have been gifted tax breaks for years despite already being in business and placing demand on municipal services."
"I have lived here for over 45 years and operated a business here for 39 years. This is the only way that this city will survive."
"It is time to undo this unfair kneecapping of our ability to collect an appropriate amount of tax from port capped industries."
"This tax cap puts an undue burden on the people of this town, preventing us from being able to meet the minimum requirements for maintaining infrastructure in this town, let alone growing beyond that."
"It is frankly ridiculous that large corporations - one of the largest in our small city - don't have to pay their fair share, forcing our property taxes to go up to maintain already failing infrastructure."
"It would be nice to see the port providing their fair share of taxes towards Prince Rupert. Having the port pay their fair share means more funds to improve infrastructure. As a home owner and new small business owner in Prince Rupert that is opening hopefully within the next 4-6 weeks, I support scrapping the tax cap."
"It’s time to correct this mistake, so that Prince Rupert will have the industrial tax base it requires to maintain services and begin to address its broken infrastructure".