“Industrial users must pay their fair share of property tax in Saint John”, said NB NDP leader Jennifer McKenzie today in response to the release this week of the “New deal for Saint John” initiative.  The Gallant government must respond to the real concerns of Saint John and other cities and must work with all municipalities to create a fair property tax system.

I agree with Cathy Rogers statement that the Equal Opportunity Program tax reforms of the 1960s gives the province the role to provincial government  to design and set property tax classifications in New Brunswick as a way to insure fairness across the province. But this is not an excuse for doing nothing.

This is a problem created by a series of unfortunate decisions of the Gallant government culminating when it arbitrarily put a freeze on 2018 property assessments to avoid the scandal caused by its political interference in the assessment process.

Canaport LNG’s assessment was reduced from $8.1 million to $2.6 million, or a $5.5 million reduction, when US firm Nationwide Consulting Company – a company that prides itself in persuading local authorities to reduce property taxes on behalf of industry – was hired by the province to assess the LNG property.

As I called for last month, we need  a real alternative to the property tax scheme in our province.  We need a commission to review the role property tax on people’s homes plays in the revenue of provincial and municipal levels. We must ask, what is a reasonable tax that home owners and industry should pay?

It has been well documented that industry has for years not paid its way and I  commend  Mayor Darling  and the Saint John Common Council for raising this important issue.


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