Big industry wants bigger tax breaks

Domtar is one of four heavy industry companies asking for a property tax reduction.

KAMLOOPS - The heavy industry players in Kamloops have been asking for a tax break for almost eight years and while council agreed to hold the line this year the four big companies still want to see more done.

Last year council agreed to a last minute change in the budget, allowing a small break for heavy industry — a break residential tax payers covered at an average additional cost of $7.50 per year.

“It's a strong disadvantage in Kamloops for all of us,” Carol Lapointe of Domtar said at the time. “We want meaningful steps by the city to rebalance industrial taxes, to remain competitive, over the next few years.”

At the time council began discussing the opportunity to expand the municipal boundaries to include New Gold, which would also add an additional company to the heavy industry roster and bring down the amount each company has to pay.

Adding New Gold would get the tax rate down to $55 per $1,000 for the five companies (New Gold, Arclin, Domtar, Lafarge and Tolko) but in the meantime council decided to freeze the tax rate for heavy industry and move forward with the necessary paperwork to expand boundaries.

While council was discussing how to handle tax increases this year the current four players were drafting a letter asking councillors to look at the recent Economic Impact Study by Venture Kamloops as an example of the tax rate being an 'overall weakness' for the industrial and commercial sectors.

The groups points out they combine for 690 industrial jobs and 1,725 related jobs. The four companies currently contribute about $7 million in taxes.

The provincial average tax rate for heavy industry is $40 per $1,000.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor for this story, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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