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CFIB ranks best & worst property tax gaps in Saskatchewan Cities

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Martensville had lowest municipal property tax gap in 2015; Prince Albert the highest

Regina, November 15, 2016 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its annual comparison of property tax gaps in Saskatchewan municipalities. On average, commercial property owners paid 2.23 times what residential property owners paid in municipal property taxes.

CFIB’s 9th annual edition of Wanted: Property Tax Fairness in Saskatchewan examines municipal and total property tax gaps for 75 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 a value of $200,000.

“This report should be required reading for all recently elected municipal leaders as they determine their 2017 operating budgets in the coming weeks,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie and Agri-Business. “We worry many municipalities may continue to hike property taxes to fund unsustainable spending, which will further erode small business optimism.”

A provincial tax gap of 2.23 means Saskatchewan commercial property owners paid, on average, $2.23 for every dollar in municipal property tax paid by homeowners. In Saskatchewan’s 15 cities, this amount ranged from $1.51 to $3.92, with an average of $2.39 (see Backgrounder).

Martensville had the lowest municipal property tax gap among Cities; Prince Albert the highest

The Good:

  • Martensville boasted the lowest municipal property tax gap of 1.51
  • Saskatoon had the lowest commercial municipal property tax bill of $1,782

The Bad: 

  • Prince Albert had the most unfair tax system with a municipal property tax gap of 3.92, and had the highest commercial property tax bill of $6,350

When provincial education property taxes are factored in, commercial property owners in Saskatchewan’s cities paid, on average, 2.38 times what residential property owners paid in property taxes.

“Some municipalities do a better job than others in making municipal property taxes fair for small businesses. However, many business owners continue to pay more than their fair share,” added Jennifer Henshaw, CFIB’s Policy Analyst for Saskatchewan and co-author of the report.

“While cities claim they have a ‘revenue problem’, the fact is they have received a 169 per cent increase in municipal revenue sharing from 2007-08 to 2016-17,” said Henshaw. “We believe cities need to work harder to further contain costs and address the inequities in their municipal property tax system.”

CFIB’s report outlines a series of recommendations for provincial and municipal governments to ensure the property tax system becomes more balanced over time.

To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon or Jennifer Henshaw, please call 306 757-0000, 1 888 234-2232, or email [email protected]  To read the full report go to CFIB’s Saskatchewan website: www.cfib.ca/sk  Follow us on Twitter: @cfibsk