The last thing most of us want to hear about is another increase in residential property taxes. The question that citizens and our elected leaders are never willing to discuss is why are residential taxes the only taxes on the rise when there is little to no increase in industrial taxes?
It is almost a forbidden subject. Not only have most industrial taxes not gone up, some areas in the city have actually seen a decrease in taxes. All this in addition to deferments on taxes for industry, which equates to a free loan from the city.
Why is the tax burden slowly being shifted to the average citizen? While arguments were being made against improving city infrastructure and services, taxes for industry were not increasing to keep up with inflation. Some industry taxes have even quietly been reduced, along with very favourable deferments. Not only is it a forbidden subject to ask industry to pay more taxes, it's taboo to not decrease their taxes.
We've always been told that we need to keep taxes for industry low in order to create jobs and spur economic development.The great part about this theory is that we've already tried this and the results over the years is that there are fewer well-paying jobs, closed mills, shuttered businesses and a downtown that everyone avoids.
CItizens and council have not been willing to ask industry to put a little more in the collection plate. Instead, we have been busy debating whether kids should have a pool or whether we should have a new fire station.
Some would have us believe that this endless increase in residential property taxes is due to some kind of vast conspiracy or circus atmosphere at city hall, worthy of some kind of investigative news report.
These same people have been saying this for years and councillors have even campaigned on this.
This speculation has only served as a distraction while the tax burden shifts from industry to you and me. I'm not against industry, but I do ask that they pay a little more than a coupon and a IOU.
Consider this next time you get your tax bill in the mail. Remember that the increased amount is due to a ever increasing unwillingness to ask industry to pay their tax share. Industry got a tax break while your taxes went up.