Time to axe the property tax system

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Dear Editor: Should property taxes continue to be assessed by the current system which is tied to continually rising real estate values?

The Municipal Assessment Agency values property according to the current real estate market. Then municipalities set their mill rate.

The agency says it does not set tax rates. Municipalities say they do not set property values, they only control the mill rate. Quite true, but what a great system for passing the buck back and forth.

Consider this: a new roof puts your property taxes up. Installing energy efficient windows puts your property tax up.

This is basic home maintenance and you will be paying more for it for as long as you live in that house.

But do our pensions go up commensurately? No way. So, dear fellow pensioners, how much will your property taxes rise in 15 or 20 years? Property tax increases will rise with the real estate market ad infinitum.

Perhaps it is time to make it a political issue at the provincial level that government should revise this property tax assessment system entirely, or abolished it in favour of either a flat-rate property tax, or some other, fairer income related municipal tax. This is a complex matter that needs to be discussed at the provincial government level and municipal levels and made a provincial election issue.

Angela Baker, Corner Brook

Organizations: Dear Editor, Municipal Assessment Agency

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Lonewolf
    May 08, 2014 - 21:58

    I have a great idea, why not let some companies develop something like oil and gas and mining so that there will be work and people will move back and thenyou will have more tax payers which will equate to less tax and more service. Every time some company wants to do something some idiots get their mouth going and ruin it for everyone else, that's why you have nothing and never will.

    • a business man
      May 09, 2014 - 09:17

      Lonewolf - have you considered that those who open their mouth in opposition of new oil and gas mining jobs are speaking out because they want the small communities to fail? Honestly, I am one of those people. I want all of the rural communities to fail, and I want everyone to move to the city. So when I speak out against oil and mining, please note that I do so becuase it is in my interest, not because I am an idiot. I don't want local jobs created, and I don't want people to move back.

    • Remove All Doubt
      May 16, 2014 - 12:33

      It always amazes me how many ignorant people out there believe that oil and gas development is the solution to everything in this province. There are some of us who still believe that the pursuit of profit is not more important than the protection of our planet and environment. As a small business owner in a rural community I provide employment opportunities and run my business in a way that enhances our community, not destroys it. Think globally, act locally. Ever heard of it?

  • Wondering
    May 08, 2014 - 19:16

    Just wondering what would happen if everyone paid the same. I guess the people paying the high on the high end would see a decrease while those on the low end would see an increase. I bet those with smaller homes don't want to see their taxes increase. Just a thought.

  • Agree with Concerned
    May 08, 2014 - 12:54

    I agree completely with the comments made by "Concerned". How are all of these small towns, some with populations of a few hundred people or less, supposed to be able to maintain water systems and other capital assets? It's impossible. It's time the government started to force amalgamations and regionalization. People need to see the big picture and follow the examples of other provinces who took this approach years ago. This does not mean communities should lose their individual identities. This is not what I'm saying. My point is that everyone benefits when the costs of major systems such as water, sewer and roads can be shared by a larger base of tax payers rather than tax payers in small towns receiving ridiculous tax bills to try and support multiple individual systems. In addition to the cost savings, joining together would also allow qualified people to be hired and the quality of the services would improve as well.

  • Concerned
    May 07, 2014 - 19:12

    Property tax rates are set by your local council, not the Minicipal Assessment Agency. Let's be clear about that. Municipal Assessment simply puts a value on your property. It is 100% council's decision as to how much tax they will charge per $1000 of that value. In saying that, I don't think it is the way property taxes are levied that is the problem. The problem is that there are too many small towns trying to support individual capital infrastructures on the backs of a small population. Maybe we should be looking at a regionalization solution to fix the entire problem instead of an argument about how get enough tax to pay town bills that are unrealistic to begin with.

  • Brenda Felix
    May 07, 2014 - 08:28

    I agree it is time to look at property taxes and how it is assessed . People are just not going to be able to afford to live in there homes when they become seniors on a fixed income The taxes now are too high for even the service we get and seniors are struggling .298