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Ranking property tax gaps: is your municipality one of the best or worst?

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You have told us high commercial property taxes negatively impact your business. We share your frustration and that’s why we fight for property tax fairness across the province. 

 

Here are some remedies we have suggested to address the inequities in Saskatchewan’s property tax system. 

The provincial government should:

  • Introduce a long-term strategy to phase out the use of mill rate factors.
  • Reject any proposal that would provide increased taxation powers to municipalities.
  • Reject raising education property taxes to pay for infrastructure projects. 

Municipal governments should:

  • Develop and implement a plan over time to reduce the commercial-to-residential property tax gap.
  • Limit year-over-year operating spending growth to a maximum of inflation and population growth. 
  • Review current programs and services to identify areas that can be streamlined or eliminated.
  • Introduce a plan to reduce the size and cost of the municipal civil service (primarily through attrition).
  • If applicable, consider the introduction of a base tax for all homeowners. 

 

Survey says: your tax bill is too high

We also fight for fairness by shedding light on how unfair the system currently is. Our 10th annual property tax gap report: Wanted: Property Tax Fairness in Saskatchewan ranks the best and worst municipal and total property tax gaps in 75 Saskatchewan municipalities and 31 Rural Municipalities (RMs) with populations of 1,000 or greater. The tax gap measures the ratio of commercial and residential property tax bills for properties assessed at $200,000.

Overall results for 2016 were mixed: On average, commercial property owners paid 2.21 times what residential owners paid in municipal property tax. Across the province this ranged between $0.97 and $5.14 for every dollar in municipal taxes paid by homeowners.

Some key findings include:

  • The five lowest municipal property tax gaps belonged to:
    • Waldheim (0.97)
    • Dalmeny (1.16)
    • White City (1.18)
    • Langham (1.21)
    • Langenburg (1.22)
  • The five highest municipal property tax gaps belonged to:
    • Foam Lake (5.14)
    • Kamsack (4.19)
    • Shellbrook (4.18)
    • Rosetown (3.95)
    • Prince Albert (3.86)
  • Carrot River had the most improved municipal property tax gap from 2015 to 2016, reducing its gap by 13.08%.
  • Rosthern had the least improved municipal property tax gap from 2015 to 2016, widening its gap by 24%.
  • Eight RMs (Moose Jaw, Buckland, Dundurn, Prince Albert, South Qu’Appelle, Hudson Bay, Battle River, and Lumsden) shared the lowest municipal property tax gap of 1.43.
  • The five highest RM property tax gaps were:
    • Frenchman Butte (13.24)
    • Britannia (12.84)
    • Wilton, (12.37)
    • Beaver River (6.93)
    • Blutcher (4.29)

 

How does your municipality stack up?

Read our regional news releases and backgrounders: