As I reported at the time, in December council voted that “local transit routes should be funded by a single area rate on dwelling units paid by all properties within walking distance of transit service.” There is simply no other honest was to describe that vote than as back-door “tax reform” in a piecemeal fashion.
Formerly, transit, like most other city services, was paid for through the general tax assessment; the more valuable your house, the more you paid in tax. With the December vote, however, council was directing that all houses be taxed at the same amount for transit--- owners of a $60,000 hovel in Spryfield would pay the exact same tax as owners of a $3 million mansion overlooking Herring Cove.
Tax reform is the attempt to apply that ugly regressive logic across the board. If adopted, a north end starter home would the same in as a south end manor, a north Dartmouth working class abode the same as a high-end historic home in downtown Dartmouth.
Top city bureaucrat Dan English derailed Walker’s efforts Tuesday by out-of-the-blue announcing that the December vote didn’t really do what it, in fact, did. Council will at the April budget meetings get to look at both the traditional assessment-based tax and the proposed tax reform-based tax, and decide then which it prefers, said English. Council went along with the charade, ignoring Walker’s quite valid point that council had already made a decision, and the wrong one at that.