© ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS
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.