by Harvey Oberfeld

Keeping It Real…

November 27, 2023

It doesn’t show up on any Official Holiday calendar, but politicians and staff at Vancouver City Hall will be celebrating their own annual special Secret Festive Season again in December … dreaming of all the extra money about to come their way and how they can spend it.

More money in their own pockets, funds for new equipment and furnishings, or maybe to redecorate their old digs, buy new vehicles, travel, take up new projects … and no doubt waste, waste, waste again on some of their old favorites.

Of course, they don’t publicly refer to it as their own Secret Festive Season, but it is.

And it kicked off last week, when the City sent out its Advance Tax Bill for 2024 … and, in what has become an Annual event in Vancouver, the proposed INCREASE for the coming year will, once again, be MUCH HIGHER than inflation!

Last year, the City raised municipal taxes a whopping 10.7%, bringing the Vancouver budget to $1.97 Billion.

Now they’re back, with a proposed 2024 tax increase adding another 7.6 % … more than DOUBLE the current annual inflation rate of 3.1%.

And remember, the current proposed 7.6% boost will be ON TOP OF last year’s 10.7%, increasing the cumulative impact … and raising the new Budget take to $2.15 Billion.

Not to mention … but let’s … the previous tax increases as well of 6.35% in 2022; 5% in 2021; and, 7% in 2020.

You really have to wonder how Mayor Ken Sim or City Councilors can keep a straight face when they express concerns about “affordability” in Vancouver or about young people/couples/families being forced out of town … to both live and work.

In fact, just months ago, Metro Vancouver also raised development fees/cost charges by up to 250% over the next three years … despite pleas and even warnings by federal housing officials for cities to help fight/reduce Canada’s housing cost crisis.

“This will add tens of thousands of dollars to a new home in some cases, but will reduce pressure to hike property taxes and utility fees,” The Vancouver Sun reported Metro officials as explaining in October.

Ha!

I guess Vancouver forgot about that.

Because City Council also voted to raise business licence fees, fees for trades and contractors and short-term rental licence fees.

Maybe it’s all part of a deliberate unspoken plan to have Vancouver mirror London, New York and Tokyo … where just living (owning or renting) there requires luxury-level incomes … or forces middle income earners into sharing/crowding into smaller and smaller spaces?

The proposed 2024 Budget goes before Council Dec 12 …

And once it is passed, the Festive Season for Vancouver City Councillors and all their departmental staff , suppliers and contractors will really begin … with taxpayers picking up the bills!

Harv Oberfeld

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