Well, this is a slightly awkward topic to bring up, but we’ve officially released our property tax rates for 2009. (And it’s not an April Fool’s joke, sadly.)
On average, homeowners can expect their property tax to rise by about $16, and business property taxes will go up by about $59. It all goes to fund the ongoing operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the region’s major roads and transit network.
I should mention that this tax increase has nothing to do with the 2010 10-year plan. That’s the plan for our next 10 years which has been bandied about in the news lately, owing to the discussion of a vehicle levy and other proposed funding mechanisms for the future. (We’re also starting to consult about it over at BePartofthePlan.ca.)
Instead, this property tax increase is to resolve a loss of revenue from last year, which happened because our parking site tax was cancelled at the end of 2007.
We lost $18 million of revenue when the parking site tax was cancelled, and the province gave us special permission to make up that $18 million using additional property tax on residences and businesses.
In 2008, we chose to collect only half of that tax ($9 million), through boosting the property tax on businesses alone. (Here’s the 2008 press release about that decision.) This year, we’re collecting the full amount from both residential and business properties.