Issue: Currently, municipalities in Saskatchewan are allowed to collect property taxes, but are restricted on applying other forms of taxation. Select municipalities like the City of Toronto have some additional taxation powers (e.g. a hotel tax). The City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary recently asked for new taxation powers but the request was denied.
Some municipalities in Saskatchewan have highlighted the need for more revenues and have suggested the Saskatchewan government give them the authority to levy new taxes (e.g. local fuel, income or sales taxes).
Action: We asked you and a strong majority of you (79%) told us that you oppose giving municipalities the authority to levy new taxes; only 15% support the idea.
CFIB recently issued a news release: 79% of Saskatchewan small businesses oppose new taxation powers for municipalities. While there are three levels of government, there is only one level of taxpayer. We also fear it would increase the overall tax burden with no guarantee of property tax cuts in the future. The last thing Saskatchewan needs is another layer of taxation!
Pleased Premier Scott Moe does not support increased taxation powers to municipalities: In response to CFIB's 2017 Leadership Candidates' survey, the Premier said: "Our government committed to deliver municipalities one percentage point of the PST revenue for the past 10 years. My team will not allow increased taxation powers for municipalities, but we will need to rework revenue sharing with municipalities to ensure they are spending their money efficiently and effectively. That means working together on procurement, shared services, and partnerships among municipalities.”
Instead of asking for new taxation powers, CFIB believes municipalities need to spend sustainably and find additional cost-savings by:
- continuing to review programs/services that can be streamlined, eliminated, contracted out to the private sector, or sold; introducing a plan to reduce the size/cost of the municipal civil service (primarily through attrition);
- developing a long-term strategy to narrow the compensation disparity between public and private sector employees; and
- if applicable, eliminating the costly and outdated municipal banked sick day policies and replace with affordable short-term disability plan.