Vancouver Sun: Concerns over LNG taxation raised by cabinet ministers

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Reporter Jeff Lee said even before any of the 18 filed applications has reached a “final investment decision”, local governments are concerned about being ready for the impact.

This story said from rent evictions, to outdated infrastructure, to pressure to provide new facilities and programs, communities like Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Terrace are already feeling the LNG development pressure.

Thus there was natural skepticism when Natural Gas Development Minister, Rich Coleman told municipal politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention they need to make sure they don’t raise industrial tax rates so high they scare off potential projects.

The Sun story says he stopped short of saying the province will cap industrial property taxes, but did say he made it clear the province wants to make sure local governments don’t jeopardize a potential $175 billion LNG program.

It was again noted, when the legislature resumes next month, the Liberals will unveil a fiscal framework that includes the LNG industry tax.

However, Minister Coleman has now reportedly indicated there will also be a plan for municipal property taxation, and in an interview with the Sun, he said that plan could replicate the province’s existing port taxation policy in Prince Rupert, where property taxes are “fair but limited.”

Municipal governments have resisted provincial intervention in their ability to set local taxes and Prince Rupert has a convention resolution on the table recommending the province eliminate port property tax caps.

It was introduced as a temporary measure in 2004 to make B.C. ports more competitive, and then made permanent this year.

Now, Minister Coleman is reportedly suggesting, that instead of canceling the cap, he may use it as a blueprint within the LNG industry.

Read the entire Vancouver Sun article here.

With files from The Vancouver Sun

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