A reconciliation tax quickly escalates to millions annually, proposal must go to fall 2022 referendum 
It won’t take long before the city’s proposed reconciliation tax for Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations – the only one known in the province – will amount to millions of dollars every year.
The proposal is unsustainable: To illustrate, during the last three years the new assessed revenue was $2.58 M in 2018, $3.75 M in 2019, and $3.63 M in 2020. For these three recent years alone the total reconciliation tax payout would have amounted to $2.8 M.
“Serious issues deserve serious solutions and broad community support – the Victoria council proposal offers neither, says John Treleaven, chair of the watchdog group, Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria. “Has the City even sought legal advice on the reconciliation tax, and if so, what it is it?”
“Canadians are aware of the ongoing process of reconciliation with indigenous groups. Given the current discussion at Victoria Council around using local tax dollars as a part of that process demands much more than a public hearing.”
“So fundamental is the suggested initiative of raising property tax in Victoria to be given to other jurisdictions, that at the very least a referendum is called for, if not a delay into the 2022 election cycle, Treleaven says.
Some 15 per cent of the city’s new assessed revenue, which is property tax from new developments and additions to existing properties, will fund the reconciliation tax. It’s unclear if each First Nation would get a separate 15 per cent donation from the new assessed revenue.
The reconciliation tax will grow exponentially and alarmingly over the years – it’s no different than compound interest. To be clear, 15 per cent of the new assessed revenue for the year is added to the amount transferred the previous year, according to Mayor Lisa Helps.
In 2021 new assessed revenue was forecast to be $500.000, it turned out to be $1.44 M which would have added $216,000 per year to the reconciliation tax as proposed. It would then quickly escalate over the years.
“It’s a very interesting time to consider such a large grant, when there are tremendous needs in the city and core responsibilities not met. For starters, we still need a new swimming pool, a library, a new city hall, and repairs to substandard roads.
What happens when there’s much less money in city reserves after the free-spending ways of council?” asks Treleaven.
The scope of future residential and commercial developments are tabulated by Citified at https://victoria.citified.ca/There are numerous major developments approved or near approval including Telus, Harris Green, The Bay, Customs House, Dockside Green, to name a few.
Proposed five-year Financial Plan Bylaw for 2022, City of Victoria, Assessment Growth Allocation, page 79.
Available for Media Interviews:
John Treleaven, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$ 
250.656.7899, cell 250.588.7899
Stan Bartlett, Past-chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$

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