Fiander proposes abolition of property tax system

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Wayne Fiander speaks to members of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning.

Wayne Fiander wants the current property tax system done away with and proposes a replacement that would see tax based on either on either a income or consumption basis.

The Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce executive director spoke at a meeting hosted by the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce this morning. Fiander said the goal in looking for a different tax system isn't to throw stones at anyone but to simply as a question: "Are we willing ot improve on a 19th century revenue model."

On average, businesses in Nova Scotia pay 234 per cent more on assessed value than homeowners and receive the same services, Fiander said. In Trenton it's 276 per cent and in New Glasgow and Stellarton it's around 230%

This he said is unfair and doesn't meet any of the qualifications of a good tax.

Other provinces including New Brunswick and P.E.I. have a cap on the amount that the commercial tax rate can be above residential.

"We like the idea of a cap on the multiple," Fiander said. "It's done in a lot of provinces. We feel that's a more accurate way to assess taxes on property."

In addition to doing that the provincial chamber is proposing the residential cap assessment be removed and that the province consider moving to an HST system or income tax model as a way to eliminate property tax.

Such a process would take at least 5-10 years, even if everyone agreed, but he said he believes it'd be best for the province.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce, Pictou County Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Trenton, New Glasgow Stellarton New Brunswick

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  • Stellarton Resident
    February 07, 2013 - 12:01

    Canada wide the commercial assessment has always generated the bulk of revenue for municipalities. If the basis for taxation for municipal services were to shift to an income basis the result would be the underground economy would multiply ten fold and many folks would have no income like they do now and only folks whose income is based on revenue canada information slips like the t4 t5 t3 etc would pay for the upkeep of roads etc. The undeclared income in nova scotia is astounding.

  • watchdog
    February 07, 2013 - 11:30

    Does the Chamber of commerce pay any attention to economics? If property taxes go up on capped residential, people who built affordable accomodations at the time of construction and limited incomes, have their taxes jacked up and take more of their disposeable income. What effectwill that have on the market place. People in low and fixed income brackets are struggling to keep their head above water now and Canadians on average are already in debt at record levels.I just checked milk prices in the states and they are complaining about paying $3.53 an American gallon which equals 3.78 liters, Last evening I saw where the price of two liters is at $4.17. Busniness in canada is gouging the consumer. So chamber give the consumer a break and maybe we can talk lowering commercial taxes.

  • arthur sinclair
    February 07, 2013 - 11:18

    Does lowering commercial taxes mean that goods and services would be cheaper for the consuming public? I see the Canadian dollar at par with the american dollar but there is between 30 and 40% higher prices in Canada.

  • Alan English
    February 07, 2013 - 10:37

    On September 17, I made a similar proposal to the Pictou Town Council. I explained the why and how behind assessment based property taxation and the problems it creates in modern day Municipal budget funding and the effects dumped on the residential and commercial property owners. I suggested a committee of Council and ratepayers be created to determine if there is a fairer way to recover the net cost of services. A voice for change must come from the bottom up to convince the Legislature that the people of Nova Scotia want assessment based property taxation to end. Only by using the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities to create a Province wide consensus against current Provincial Legislation can real full Municipal Tax Reform occur. The NS Chamber of Commerce is just another voice that needs to be heard by the UNSM.