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REPORTING · 17th March 2012
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council is sending a letter to Premier Christy Clark, the Minister of Community Support and Cultural Development, MLA Robin Austin and the Union of BC municipalities to object to the composition expert panel review of business taxation and local government revenue.

“There are no panel representatives from local Government or municipalities,” said Councillor Corrine Scott at Council on Monday, March 5th. “There was a panel to advise, the Provincial Government wanted to put it in place, on BC tax competitiveness.”

Scott stated the experts on the panel come from multiple different backgrounds including the University of British Columbia, Goldcorp, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former Dean from a business school.

“All of these individuals are very capable but if they’re going to talk about reviewing local government revenue sources, there should be a local government representative on the panel as well,” said Scott.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff reminded Council that Kitmat has put forward motions to the UBCM in the past concerning the premise of business taxation. The Province has never responded to the motions, instead, they set up the expert panel.

“My concern goes beyond having no local government representation on the panel,” said Feldhoff. “My concern goes to the whole concept of having a panel in the first place, meddling in the affairs of the local government. It would appear that you can’t undo that one, it’s a done deal so I would support the motion.”

Councillor Rob Goffinet explained the last three meetings of the UBCM, Kitimat has presented papers on tax competitiveness because Kitimat is one of the most industrialized communities in British Columbia.

“If municipal level of government was somehow restricted in levying taxation on local industry, it would have devastating effects to communities like Kitimat, Powell River, Port Alberni, Squamish, etc… and I think the previous Council’s have done excellent work and so has our administration in presenting papers analyzing our point of view that the municipal taxes levied on mega industries account for less then 1% of their operating revenue or budget and cannot be construed as a disincentive to cite in a municipality,” said Goffinet.

He expressed Kitimat would be able to advise the panel that the municipal taxation of Kitimat does not stand in the way of corporations ‘beating down the door’ to locate their business here.

The motion was called and carried.