Letter: Flat tax reduction not fair

I am writing this letter in regards to the article, "Council discusses further reduction to flat tax", located in the April 26, 2018, edition of the Kimberley Bulletin.

I am writing this letter in regards to the article, “Council discusses further reduction to flat tax”, located in the April 26, 2018, edition of the Kimberley Bulletin.

I must say that the quotes in the article cause me great concern. The first quote of concern is, “The higher assessed properties will end up getting taxed more because of the shift in variable tax, while lower valued properties will see more of a benefit with the reduction of the flat tax.” When looking at this, one must consider if such an action is fair to all involved. The definition of “fair” in the Cambridge Dictionary is as follows: treating someone in a way that is right or reasonable, or treating a group of people equally and not allowing personal opinions to influence your judgement (a fair decision). Bearing this in mind, it is obvious that the decision to lower the flat tax which will result in an increase in taxes to some homeowners with a reduction to others, does not meet the criteria for a “fair” decision.

Councillor Hogland and the Mayor both are opposed to the reduction and in the Mayor’s words, “… should we chose as a Council to reduce the flat tax, that it’s not at the expense of other taxpayers”. The Mayor continues on to say, “Our job as a Council here is to look out for all of our taxpayers, not just a certain group within the tax base. It is really important that we remain objective in that regard.” Clearly the decision to cut the flat tax which will result in higher taxes for some and lower for others is only in the interest of a certain group and neither meets the parameters of “fair” or in the interest of all taxpayers.

The second area of concern I have identified in this article is the statement made by Councillor Kent Goodwin and his belief that those who can afford to pay more should. Mr. Goodwin states, “I definitely believe that the fairest forms of taxation are based on having people who have the ability to pay more pay a little more, and the people who can’t make ends meet pay correspondingly less.” In Councillor Goodwin’s statement, there is no consideration given to the higher valued property owners’ personal situation. By this I mean that this higher valued property may represent a couple’s entire life’s savings put into building their dream retirement home and that they are now living on a fixed income. There is also no consideration given to the fact that it may be a young entrepreneurial family with children carrying a mortgage, or, a single parent family with a mortgage and children to support.

Many of these higher valued properties were purchased/built years ago before any changes to the flat tax were considered. Now with these changes, those homeowners are being penalized and supplementing others.

Taxes cover the services that everyone in the community receives. Should not everyone in the community pay their fair share for the same services received?

I would strongly urge the Council to reconsider their intention to do anything with the flat tax unless it is to increase it so that there is not as great a discrepancy between two homeowners within the City of Kimberley.

Your flat tax reduction could be detrimental to the community fabric of the City of Kimberley, having an “us” and “them” sentiment created by the Council’s decision.

Chris Willis

Kimberley, BC

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