A blow of “taxation in the stomach” avoided thanks to the reduction of the White Rock studio’s tax


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Speaking Out Helped Blue Frog Studios’ Kelly Breaks More Than Half of Her Property Tax Hike by Nearly 50%

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A White Rock recording studio-theater that faced a 50% property tax hike dramatically slashed it after the co-owner spoke out on the issue.

Kelly Breaks, President of Blue Frog Studios, said the increase came at a “absolutely worse” time for a small business like his.

“We’ve been closed for essentially 15 months,” he said.

“Our plan was to open next month at 50% – that’s the break-even point for us – bring back staff, create work for groups.”

Last year, Breaks paid the town of White Rock $ 18,008 in property taxes. This year, his bill was initially $ 26,823, an increase of almost 50%.

After Postmedia contacted White Rock about the increase on Friday morning and other media covered the story, Breaks received a phone call later today from White Rock informing them that their property taxes were being cut. to $ 21,581, which is an increase of just under 20 percent.

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“I’m not ecstatic, but I’m happier,” Breaks said.

He said White Rock changed his property taxes because his property was mistakenly classified.

Breaks owns the property at 1328 Johnston Rd. And lives on the second floor. For 2021, BC Assessment reclassified it as a business, but brought it back to its original residential-business classification.

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“It shows you the difference between residential and business taxes,” he said.

“Overall, the concept of a government taxing corporate hell still holds true.”

Blue Frog has a 100-seat theater where people can drink wine or beer while listening to concerts.

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce.
Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG files

Before the pandemic, Blue frog presented between 150 and 200 shows per year. It records live albums and broadcasts performances online.

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“I hope enough people will speak out on this. It has to happen to other businesses across the province, ”said Breaks.

“I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

Anita Huberman, Executive Director of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce, said his organization had been inundated with phone calls from businesses over the past two weeks complaining about their 2021 property taxes.

SBT survey on property taxes found that a majority of manufacturing companies faced a tax increase of more than 20 percent; a majority of construction companies, an increase of over 30 percent; and a majority of real estate and rental and leasing businesses, an increase of over 35 percent – including one business with an increase of over 140 percent.

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“The tax increases that politicians are making at different levels of government are eroding corporate bottom lines amid significant financial challenges due to the pandemic,” she said.

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Huberman said companies should pay their share of taxes, but facing such big increases in a year is “just plain unfair.”

“There has to be a gradual increase in taxes, not this brutal taxation hitting your cash flow,” she said.

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Huberman said the SBT will hold a grassroots letter-writing campaign in July to make sure local, regional and provincial governments understand how expensive tax increases are.

“The whole way the province looks at land valuation and valuation needs to be reassessed,” she said.

Based on British Columbia assessment, the value of all properties in British Columbia has increased by about four percent, from $ 1.93 trillion in 2020 to $ 2.01 trillion in 2021.

BC Assessment assesses over two million properties. Of those, appraisals of 22,371 properties or 1.06% were called for 2021, the lowest rate in five years.

kevingriffin@postmedia.com


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