Tax rates in the L. Mainland: Is this the math taught at the Fraser Institute?

Fraser Institute alum and occasional City Caucus poster Kathyrn Marshall tweets:

Residential taxes – aka the Residential Property Tax – are based on property values. Thus dividing tax revenue “per capita” is misleading. The market dictates a home’s worth, and certain municipalities command a premium in the marketplace.

But is Marshall’s statement even true on it’s own terms?

By coincidence, the BC Government launched it’s “Open Government” web portal. From there you can find Local Government Tax Rates and Assessments 2010. What do we find? I’m going to include all the municipalities in the Lower Mainland, rather than cherry-picking as Marshall does:

Residential Municipal Taxes Per Capita:

  • Burnaby: $403
  • Coquitlam: $495
  • Delta: $514
  • New Westminster: $502
  • North Vancouver (City): $460
  • North Vancouver (District): $595
  • Richmond: $409
  • Surrey: $320
  • Vancouver: $460
  • West Vancouver: $1,103

So, Marshall made a mistake with Delta. Oops. Here is the total tax burden, per capita:

Total Municipal Taxes Per Capita:

  • Burnaby: $844
  • Coquitlam: $849
  • Delta: $947
  • New Westminster: $810
  • North Vancouver (City): $885
  • North Vancouver (District): $837
  • Richmond: $810
  • Surrey: $468
  • Vancouver: $902
  • West Vancouver: $1,197

And here are the actual tax *rates*:

  • Burnaby – Residential: 4.9 / Business: 18.87
  • Coquitlam – Residential: 5.63 / Business: 23.88
  • Delta – Residential: 6.09 / Business: 20.07
  • New Westminster – Residential: 6.37 / Business: 23.11
  • North Vancouver (City) – Residential: 4.63 / Business:18.64
  • North Vancouver (District) – Residential: 4.74 / Business:17.48
  • Richmond – Residential: 4.77 / Business:17.2
  • Surrey – Residential: 4.9 / Business: 16.22
  • Vancouver – Residential: 4.21 / Business: 18.62
  • West Vancouver – Residential: 4.15 / Business: 13.68

Notice how expensive West Vancouver has the highest taxes per capita, yet one of the lowest rates.

The City of Vancouver is right down the middle.

Kathryn Marshall…tsk tsk.

But ah-ha, she’ll say – profligate Vancouver spent $1947 for each citizen, while thrifty Surrey only spent $1,157. Vancouver provides more services for it’s citizens…services that Surreyites often use and enjoy at Vancouver’s expense.

For example, Vancouver spent $37,610,000 on Health, Social Services and Housing.

Surrey spent $0.

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