What’s the Business Tax Shift supposed to do anyways? Pt. 2

At Price Tags, the following comment was made:

There were 46 *net* new [businesses] between 2001 & 2010, but that’s because so many businesses were lost between 2001 & 2007. In fact there were over 4000 net new business licenses issued in Vancouver between 2007 & 2010.


the point of the tax shift was not to address affordability, it was to address businesses & jobs leaving the city – and the numbers certainly suggest that was a problem & things may still be less than ideal.

Mark is a very trustworthy guy, but I was not able to independently confirm the stats for net new business licenses issued. This is what I did find:

Total Business Licences Issued (New & Renewals) in Metro Vancouver 1999-2010

Source: Metro Vancouver Key Statistics

Business Incorporations - Greater Vancouver 1994-2010

Source: BC Stats

Bankruptcies - Greater Vancouver 2004-2009

Source: BC Stats

The CoV’s Report on Property Taxation also notes a rise in Commercial Building Permits starting in 2005. Perhaps net new business licenses issued is the only stat that matters, but looking over this it really strikes me that shifting the tax rate from businesses to residents – which began in 2007 – has had very little effect economically.

Related: City of Vancouver Property Tax Policy Review Commission Final Report [2007] & What’s the Business Tax Shift supposed to do anyways? Pt. 1



  1. Mark Allerton (@MarkAllerton)

    I have to confess I was just repeating what I guess is the “conventional wisdom” on this – so if the charge here is “making statements without supporting evidence”, well… guilty as charged. But as you said elsewhere, it’s not an unreasonable hypothesis.

    Unfortunately there is not a 1:1 correspondence between business licenses and businesses, since the city bylaw requires a business license for each location in which the business operates, so the comparison between the top chart and the bottom two is kind of apples to oranges.

    But it has to be said they do line up pretty well – and even line up reasonably well with the boom & bust cycle of the last 10 years, would be even clearer if you plotted both with the same scales.

    So it seems you have a point, and Sam Sullivan can not even claim this a win for his time in office.

  2. spartikus

    It also shows – despite all the talk about the emergence of Surrey – the disproportionate economic weight of the CoV. Vancouver really is the only show in town.

    Not related to the previous discussion, but interesting.