Press Release February 21, 2012
Business taxes unfairly high says Halifax Chamber
February 21, 2012- Halifax, NS – The Halifax Chamber is fed up that as property taxes are set to rise again in 2012, businesses will be left with the bill. “Businesses are easy to pick on because they don’t vote,” says Chamber president Valerie Payn. “But businesses do create jobs and are the only creators of wealth and prosperity for the whole community.”
“This round of assessment hikes has a particularly annoying counter-productivity to it,” says Chamber president Valerie Payn. “It pits the stated desire to increase density and vibrancy in the Capital District against a competitive incentive to move out to the less expensive suburbs.”
“While the tax cost of doing business in an area is not the only consideration, it is a very important one. The city and province have been counting on the good natured patriotism of businesses to stay put and even expand while sticking them with taxes, fees and regulations that make other jurisdictions look very attractive,” says Payn.
“At the end of the day there is only one taxpayer, so thinking that homeowners are getting a tax break because commercial taxes are higher is a mistake,” adds Payn.
At best, higher commercial taxes mean higher prices to consumers. The saddest part of this is that those who don’t own property get stuck paying for services for those who do. At worst, higher commercial taxes mean that local businesses become uncompetitive, move, or go out of business, destroying jobs, communities and the entire local tax base.
The discrepancy between commercial and residential tax rates is unequal and not reflective of the services they receive. “Business pays taxes three times higher than homeowners on properties of similar value but do not receive the same services,” Payn continues. “It is time for government to walk the talk when it comes to economic development. If we want companies to move to Halifax and, just as importantly, stay in Halifax we cannot penalize them with uncompetitive taxes.”
“In their 2011 Municipal Budget Report Card, the Chamber gave the City an overall score of C with commercial tax competitiveness getting the lowest score awards of D-, due to a total lack of progress on the competitive commercial tax regime for businesses in Halifax,” says Payn. “Competitive commercial taxes are a key element of the city’s economic strategy and not only has there not been any movement to improve this situation with this budget, but there seems to be an active disregard to even considering what changes can be made.” City Council formally disbanded its Tax reform Committee in June 2009.
For more information contact:
Communications & Membership Engagement Coordinator
Halifax Chamber of Commerce