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Regina, December 6, 2017 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its annual comparison of property tax gaps in Saskatchewan municipalities. The overall results for 2016 were mixed across the province. On average, commercial property owners paid 2.21 times what residential owners paid in municipal property taxes.
“While some cities are doing a better job than others in making municipal property taxes fairer for small businesses, there is still more work to be done,” said Jennifer Henshaw, CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst for Saskatchewan and co-author of the report. “This report should be required reading for all municipal leaders as they determine their 2018 operating budgets in the coming weeks.”
CFIB’s 10th 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.
A provincial tax gap of 2.21 means Saskatchewan commercial property owners paid, on average, $2.21 for every dollar in municipal property tax paid by homeowners. In Saskatchewan’s 15 cities, this amount ranged from $1.39 to $3.86, with an average of $2.36. Seven increased their property tax gap from 2015 to 2016, one had no change and seven reduced their gap (see Cities Backgrounder).
Warman had the lowest municipal property tax gap among Saskatchewan’s cities; Prince Albert had the highest
When provincial education property taxes are factored in, commercial property owners in Saskatchewan’s cities paid, on average, 2.36 times what residential owners paid in property taxes.
“Entrepreneurs are fed up with getting the short end of the property tax stick and worry many municipalities will continue to hike property taxes to fund unsustainable spending,” concluded Henshaw. “The majority of municipalities need to work harder to further contain costs and commit to a plan to make their property tax system more fair for entrepreneurs.”
CFIB’s report outlines a series of recommendations for provincial and municipal governments to ensure the property tax system becomes more balanced over time.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every sector and region.