Council urged not to bring in four per cent tax increase

The four per cent tax increase council is looking at for 2019, combined with increases every year in recent memory, is just too much, says resident Eric Allen.

“The average over the past six years about three per cent,” he told council as they started budget discussions Monday afternoon. “If you take that amount of the tax increase, over 10 years, then one month’s old age pension goes to tax increase.”

Council is looking at a 2019 budget that would contain a four per cent tax increase.

Increases to hydro rates, gas rates, etc. over time also eat away at the disposable income of people on fixed incomes, he said.

“We really have to take a serious, hard look at where we’re going with tax increases,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. We know when we’re taxing businesses, we don’t tax them too much because they will leave town. Should look at the same for property tax.

He also urged the city to lobby the province to find a solution to the Employer’s Health Tax and said Finance Minister Carole James, when she announced the tax said municipalities should be able to absorb the extra costs.

The city is subject to the tax 1.95 per cent of total payroll, estimated at $1.0 million per year.

“This tax levy has to be looked at,” said Allen. “If you can go back to the government and say we don’t want to pay this tax this way. Not up to taxpayers in municipalities to be paying someone’s MSP.”