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Property Tax Reforms

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I have been reading with amusement Mr. Bousquet's articles on tax reform initiatives by the city. I say with amusement because I have yet to see an accurate article on this initiative.

In the latest column Mr. Bousquet claims Preston will pay the highest garbage taxes. This must be from a reform initiative he has created because the Tax Reform Committee's proposal has the same rate charged to every dwelling in HRM.

In the same article he bemoans local communities paying towards their local community centre forgetting that this is already the case in most community facilities, and in some areas local communities pay for regional facilities but the committee recommends these facilities be paid by the entire region.

Likewise the calculations used throughout always seem far different than the committee's. For example condos and apartments would pay only 60 percent tax recognizing their efficiency both financially and environmentally. This results in a reduction for all condos and almost all apartments. While I am on calculations, when indicating who might pay more or less in each income bracket Mr. Bousquet conveniently forgets to include the entire proposal which adds a 4 percent wealth tax.

Finally on the proposed elimination of the deed transfer tax, this request was not from the development community but from affordable housing advocates who pointed out this cost hinders the ability of lower income and young people from purchasing homes.

At the end of the day the Tax Reform Committee is going to the public with a range of options---not just one as Mr. Bousquet would have us believe. Perhaps the public would be more interested in the proposals he keeps reporting on but they are not those of the committee. I encourage people to come to the meetings and give their feedback. The intent of the committee is to get feedback, learn what people do and do not like, and to further refine the proposals.

By Councillor Andrew Younger

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