Surrey Board of Trade Receives Support on BC Government Policy: Using Property Tax Reform to Support Agriculture Production

A Surrey Board of Trade policy calling for USING PROPERTY TAX REFORM TO SUPPORT AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION has passed at the BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Conference in Kamloops.
The Surrey Board of Trade recommends that the BC Government:

1.     Reform the school tax exemption to apply strictly to land classified as farm, and to remove residential classification from the School Act (Section 30);

2.     Change the minimum farm receipt threshold across all parcels, regardless of size, to $3,500; and create a tier system where farms that meet a higher threshold of gross farm receipts receive greater tax benefits; and

3.     Audit and/or make public the ownership of Bare Land Trust ownership of ALR properties.

“The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was designed to protect farmland; only 5% of BC is in the ALR, and only 1% of all of BC is prime farmland — much of which is close to urban centres. Non-farm residential and non- farm commercial uses are becoming more numerous and take advantage of tax breaks designed to foster farm production without meaningfully contributing to BC’s overall Farm Cash Receipts (FCR). We recommend that property tax benefits for agricultural land be reformed to ensure that the recipients are farmers, not speculators,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The Property Tax Reform Policy to Support Agriculture Production received two-thirds of votes to pass and is now official BC Chamber policy and will be advocated by the Surrey Board of Trade and the BC Chamber of Commerce to appropriate levels of government over 2018-19.
“The Surrey Board of Trade is proud to see this policy pass and receive support from our peers across the province,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade.  “The Surrey Board of Trade is committed to creating a more business-friendly Surrey and a more business-friendly BC.”
The BC Chamber of Commerce AGM and Conference is held in a different BC community each year. The event is the largest annual business policy forum in the province. Every year, member Chambers of the BC Chamber develop and submit policies for the consideration of their peers. This year, 52 policies were up for debate at the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM.

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For further details, please contact:

Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade