In 2013, Parksville city council reduced the tax exemptions of a few non-profit service organizations run by volunteers.
These volunteers donate their time and some personal finances, in performing the job. The result was a tax that was levied on the organizations. The other non-profit service organizations in Parksville retained their 100 per cent exemptions. Since there did not appear to be any change in the criteria that was required to qualify for the 100 per cent exemption grant, this was obviously not equal treatment of organizations performing a similar type of service to the community.
The first threat of this tax is in not treating organizations the same, in similar spheres of activity. This unequal treatment extends to the people running the organization, the volunteer, and ends up as a violation of a basic principle in human relations. This creates distrust, that breeds discontent, that leads to disrespect. It results in a change in attitudes, motivation and incentive. It may take a little time, but volunteers may disappear, and with them gone, services decline. Granted, this may never happen, but there is no guarantee it won’t, as long as the tax exists. The only assurance it won’t, is to rescind the tax and restore the 100 per cent exemption.
The second threat is to organizations who are taxed. The tax robs them of funds they need to provide the service. This classifies it as a regressive tax. Historically, regressive taxes are infamous for their ability to close the doors of volunteer operated service organizations. The negative process is simple. To pay the tax, the membership dues are increased. The members become insufficient to generate the revenue to pay the operating costs and the taxes, so the service ceases to exist.
I am a founding member of the Parksville Curling Club, and the president in 2002, when we converted the District 69 arena into a curling club. I have some intrinsic concerns on how this tax will negatively affect the curling operation.